West Indies v India: Third ODI Preview


The West Indies will look to turn around a desperate run of form when they take on India in the third ODI in Antigua. 

While their female counterparts contest a highly competitive Women's World Cup, the West Indies and India men's outfits are struggling to contextualise a bilateral ODI series in the Caribbean in the same month as the Champions Trophy.

Both teams are eager to put the damp conditions encountered across the series' first two matches in Port of Spain behind them - and head to the substantially sunnier climes of Antigua.

West Indies v India | Friday, 30 June 2017 | Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua | 15:00

To Win Match
West Indies 34/10 | Tie 35/1 | India 23/100

West Indies
Coach Stuart Law was right on the money when insisting the Windies were "lacking a little bit of something, a little bit of edge" at the Queen's Park Oval. While their bowling ranks are doing enough to get by, their batting department - as has become the norm - requires dramatic improvement across the remaining three ODIs.

Captain Jason Holder's recurring problem with beamers and no-balls aside, the rest of the seamers and spinners have shown some collective zeal against a star-studded opposition order. Spinner Ashley Nurse, in particular - troubled the left-handed Yuvraj Singh and company. The Windies would do well to partner Nurse with leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo again.

They can't afford to tolerate the under-delivering Evin Lewis any longer, though. The 25-year-old has shown plenty of promise by delivering a string of 20s and 30s, but a severe lack of conversion to half-centuries and beyond has caught up with him. While pushing him to the top of the knock, where he has forged a relatively successful Twenty20 International career is an option, one fancies a middle-order replacement is the better choice.

Drafting the talented Darren Bravo would be ideal, but he remains embroiled in a battle of wills with the West Indies Cricket Board. The impasse reared its ugly head again this week, typifying the men in maroon's penchant for having off-field antics detract from the task at hand. Hopefully, this won't predictably play out in North Sound.

Law, too, reminded all and sundry of the West Indians' checkered success against Pakistan in the Caribbean earlier this year. Their ability to genuinely challenge a team that would go on to win the Champions Trophy a couple of months later then, could have substantial relevance now, if they avoid tripping themselves up.

If there was some doubt over the context of this series in a never-ending string of standalone ODI series, captain Virat Kohli has quickly pinpointed relevance by casting an eye to the 2019 World Cup. Kohli reckons the current squad - and about a dozen other players - are competing for the final 15 berths that'll head to the limited-overs showpiece in the United Kingdom in two years' time.

One such figure drawing further from the fringes and closer to the core is wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav. Former captain Rahul Dravid's public support and Kohli's high praise have arguably edged Yadav ahead of the seasoned Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin in the pecking order. Conditions in Antigua, again, will suit him.

Elsewhere on the personnel front, Kohli continues to vouch for the veteran Ajinkya Rahane as his preferred opener in the absence of the rested Rohit Sharma. While that's not necessarily good news for the hard-hitting Rishabh Pant's hopes of a debut, India might find space for Rahane in the middle order - and push Pant to the top.

Either way, India will want to prove to doubters their ability to push to scores of more than the early 300s. Much has been made of a so-called resting on laurels - and fans and pundits want to see 350-plus scores, regardless of conditions. This, however, will be a tough ask at a venue that has only seen two scores of more than 300 by a team batting first in its 15-ODI history.

While the Windies have not won an ODI at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in their last four attempts, they comfortably beat the Indians here in 2011. That was a decidedly stronger host XI, though, versus an admittedly under-strength visiting unit. The same cannot be said about Friday's rivalry.

Verdict: India 23/100
A visiting outfit still smarting from defeat to arch rivals Pakistan in the recent Champions Trophy final will continue to shrug off the hurt with victory over opposition six positions inferior in the International Cricket Council's rankings.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for @Hollywoodbets.net

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