West Indies vs India: Fourth ODI Preview

Cricket_Match

The Windies' failings - with bat and ball - were all too familiar in the third ODI, while India took a simple step closer to an almost inevitable ODI series victory.

The hosts are bound to swap personnel again, but the jury isn't yet out on whether or not the tourists will stick with the tried and tested - and save experimentation for the fifth and final fixture.

West Indies v India | Sunday, 2 July 2017 | Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua | 15:00

To Win Match
West Indies 15/4 | Tie 35/1 | India 2/9

West Indies
Triumphant at three consecutive tosses and, having opted to bowl first each and every occasion, captain Jason Holder needs to think a strategy that is playing right into the opposition's hands. Whether his choices are due to a lack of confidence in the batting department or overconfidence in the bowling attack, a change - by his own volition or the fall of the coin - is required.

Holder's death bowling strategy, too, needs a tweak. Fans have witnessed master cricketers like South African AB de Villiers pre-empt - and batter - the tall fast bowler's predictable lines and lengths previously, and the same is happening again, this time at the hands of finishing aficionados Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav.

Not to harp on about Holder's inadequacies, too much, but the skipper must introduce leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo into the attack a lot sooner - certainly a lot earlier than finger spinner Ashley Nurse. This, one surmises, will signal the West Indies intent to take wickets, not just trust breakthroughs will arrive as a bonus while focus is instead fixed on keeping the run-rate down.

In the batting ranks, it's high time the brains trust look elsewhere, beyond the struggling Evin Lewis. To reiterate, the hard-hitting Lewis is a superb opener in Twenty20 International cricket, but the intermediate form of the game needs to see him sidelined for an appropriate spell, or dropped down the order. This, in turn, would afford brothers Kyle and Shai Hope the opportunity to flourish in combination.



India
The visitors resisted the temptation to debut Rishabh Pant in the third ODI and might do so again, given the cool, calm and collected Ajinkya Rahane's ability to temper slow, steady strike rates with fast, booming pace according to demand, circumstance and situation. Rahane displayed this approach superbly in Antigua and, at the same venue, is the right choice on Sunday.

Elsewhere, time will tell if seamer Mohammed Shami can sneak back into the XI. With the young Jasprit Bumrah rested for this series, and the workload of the fast bowlers requiring astute management, now seems as good a time as any to give Shami a go ahead of Umesh Yadav or Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He could play a particularly key role if India bowl first, and the wicket is again moist early on.

India's penchant for the flamboyant should be evident again. The de Villiers-esque shot selection and stroke play employed by Dhoni and Jadhav was thoroughly entertaining earlier this week and, 48 hours later, opportunity knocks for them to thrill again. Dhoni, then, may well take a rest and be replaced by Dinesh Karthik for the final fixture.

While the first two ODIs in Port of Spain were negatively affected by rain, Antigua's sunnier climes will continue to shine on the players. A series lacking context a mere couple of weeks after the end of the Champions Trophy, indeed, needs all the help it can get to add meaning to a jam-packed touring calendar.

Verdict: India 2/9
The sub-continental big guns have gained a significant amount of momentum over the past week, shrugging off the hurt sustained in defeat to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final, while the Windies seem to be clutching at proverbial straws, personnel- and plan-wise.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for @Hollywoodbets.net

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