West Indies campaign has taken a nose dive after a promising start to the tournament. Their win against Pakistan being their only win of the tournament so far. Their batting has been inconsistent and their bowling after good starts with the new ball has allowed teams to escape to a defendable total. Their loss to New Zealand by five runs will be a hard one to come back from. The West Indies team really looked gutted and completely defeated after that game.
Even though they have an outside chance of still making the semi-finals it is hard to see them getting there. They would need more enterprise from the batters and from the bowling unit if they have to challenge India.
Afghanistan spinners troubled India to restrict them but West Indies do not have any good spinners in their squad. Their fast bowlers have done well with the new ball but the backup bowling and fielding have been poor. They would need to draw on all their resources to make a comeback in this tournament.
India is the only unbeaten team in the tournament but is not without their flaws. Their batting was exposed against a tenacious Afghanistan side who almost pulled off a brilliant win. They struggled with the bat against some world class spin bowling on a surface which had a bit of help for them. Virat Kohli in the post-match presentation said that he wasn’t happy with some of the shots the India batters played to lose their wickets. Even though the captain himself is in a wonderful form he would need a big contribution from a player whose name is not Rohit Sharma.
Sharma had his first failure in that game and the rest of the batting failed to stand up. Vijay Shankar who has received chances at number four will be under scrutiny as Rishabh Pant is waiting in the wings. Despite that performance, India isn’t expected to make any changes to the playing XI.
Head to Head:
West Indies still holds a slim lead over India in historical head to head record but India holds the aces with 5-3 in the World Cup encounters. The West Indies team hasn’t defeated India in a World Cup game since their win in 1992.
Rohit Sharma (India): The Afghanistan game showed how much India rely on the top 3. Rohit Sharma who has been in brilliant form would want to stamp his authority once again in this crucial game against West Indies. He along with KL Rahul will need to see off the new ball threat of West Indies as other teams have lost wickets to them in the initial overs.
Yuzvendra Chahal (India): West Indies are good players of pace. Even though India has a very good pace attack, it is the spinners who will make the difference against this powerful WI batting line up. They have struggled against good quality wrist spin in recent times and Chahal would want to exploit that.
Jason Holder (West Indies): The West Indies captain would not only be required to do we with the bat and the ball but also will be needed to motivate his players after that heartbreaking loss. He is an important member of the team as a leader and has done brilliantly for West Indies over the years. He would need to bring all his experience to turn this around for West Indies.
Sheldon Cottrell (West Indies): India strength is their top 3 and Cottrell has been brilliant with the new ball. He has been able to pick wickets in the first power play with disciplined length and a little bit of movement. If he can dismiss the Indian openers, the middle order will once again be under pressure and West Indies would love for him to do that again.
What they said?
“It’s been two crushing defeats. And we felt them drastically over the past couple of days. But it’s a situation where learning must take place. I think it’s significant for everybody just to draw on their own resources and look at themselves in the mirror and try to make sure that learning takes place,” Said Jason Holder about their recent losses.
“Not really. I think according to the situation and the condition of the wicket, we were able to successfully defend the total that we put up. And had we probably lost a wicket at that stage, then things would have turned out differently. So I don’t think it’s too much of a concern for us right now.” Said Indian Bowling Coach Bharat Arun about the criticism on Dhoni for slow batting.
Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
West Indies XI:
Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Sheldon Cottrell, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas
India has been playing well in this tournament and despite their shortfalls have been able to notch up wins so far. They would be tested against this West Indies side who have a good pace attack and a powerful batting line up. India who is probably one win away from locking their semi-finals spot will be looking for a win. West Indies, on the other hand, will be looking for a win to hang on to the slimmest of opportunity to sneak through to the final four.