Two teams, two thrillers, one came out winner, another turned out to be a loser. That’s how India and West Indies have played their last match. India had a hero in the form of Mohammad Shami who bowled India to a thrilling victory by taking a hattrick on the last three balls of the inning. West Indies had a hero in Carlos Brathwaite who smashed the Kiwi bowlers to all parts of the ground but he couldn’t be the savior like Mohammad Shami. He got West Indies to another ‘remember the name’ moment as Ian Bishop was ready in the commentary box to express the bravado of Brathwaite.
The Indian team will look to hit the ground running in a spanking fashion and continue their unbeaten run in the ongoing ICC world cup when they will face an erratic west indies side at the Old Trafford, Manchester. The men in blue got off from jail in their last clash against a rejuvenated Afghanistan side in the last ball thriller.
The Indian team will bank on the solidity of the batting unit to come back to terms again whereas West Indies will bank on its superstars to come good against heavyweight India. Chris Gayle will have to play well against the new ball as he has an iffy record against India in the recent past. The much-anticipated clash between Indian wrist spinners who don’t hold back giving air to their balls and the six-hitting batting lineup has spiced up the contest from the outset. The spinning duo from India have shown the adaptability and control under pressure situations but west indies will have to show restraint and play according to match situations. They have lost matches in this tournament for not playing the tricky situations in calculative and smarter ways.
The match will also see a contest between the barrage of bouncers from express and tall fast bowlers who have looked to take on the batsmen from other teams by exploring the middle areas of the pitch. They must remember if there’s a vulnerability in this Indian batting line up, it’s in the middle order and to expose that, Windies will have to switch to fuller lengths. How well they alter their lengths against the technically genius batsmen of Indian will decide the fate of the Indian batting.
Players to Look out for:
India: KL Rahul has looked in sublime touch but has found strange ways to get out just when he looked settled for a big one. He will try to settle all the good starts he got in the world cup with a daddy hundred against the men in maroon.
West Indies: Shai Hope was in tremendous form in the tri-series which was played in Ireland just before the world cup but he has gone off the boil a bit in this tournament and hasn’t been so effective. He will look to get all of that right come the match against one of the firm favorites. His record against India in white ball cricket reiterates the quality he possesses.
India (Possible XI): Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah
West Indies (Possible XI): Chris Gayle, Sunil Ambris, Shai Hope, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Carlos Brathwaite, Jason Holder, Ashley Nurse, Kemar Roach, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas
Pitch and Weather: There’s no chance of rain in Manchester on Thursday and the pitch is expected to be flat. India had posted a huge total on the scoreboard on the back of a big century from Rohit Sharma.