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November 18 2019
Third ODI: Windies batsmen will look to raise the bar further
27 October 2018

India pulls out all the stops with the inclusion of Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar ahead of the crucial third ODI.

After finishing the warm-up game of football, as some of the Windies cricketers headed to the nets, Jason Holder got into an animated conversation with some of his team-mates at the Maharashtra Cricket Association's stadium. The lanky Caribbean captain usually possesses a calm demeanour but so lively was he while trying to imitate someone, that the rest of the players burst into laughter right away.

The Windies may not have won a match ever since they touched down on Indian soil almost a month ago, yet the squad looked a happy bunch on the eve of the third ODI against a formidable India. Considering the result in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday — a tie the Windies managed while chasing a target of 322 — it was understandable that the Caribbeans was a cheerful lot ahead of the crucial tie.

Best death-bowling duo 

Thanks to Shimron Hetmyer's hitting prowess in both games and Shai Hope's classy innings in Vizag, the Windies have crossed 320 in both the ODIs. However, even they will realise that to repeat the feat, their batsmen will have to raise the bar even more. After all, India has recalled the best death-bowling duo in the world at the moment — Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar — for the last three ODIs of the series.

Having enjoyed an extended break since the Asia Cup, Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar will be more than eager to hit the straps right away. While Windies will hope that at least one of the pair will be rusty since they haven't played a match in a month, India's change room will look to the the duo to deliver knockout blows at the start and the death.

Headaches

Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar will not be the only headaches for Holder and Co., though. After all, India captain Virat Kohli has tallied almost 300 runs so far in the series, having been dismissed only once. If Kohli registers a hat-trick of hundreds and his deputy Rohit Sharma repeats the heroics of Guwahati, the fate of the match will be all but sealed in no time. Not to forget Sharma's partner at the top of the order, Shikhar Dhawan, is due for a big one.

While the top six slots are all but sealed, it will be interesting to see if Kohli again prefers two spinners after Visakhapatnam instead of the triumvirate he used in the series-opener. Considering the smaller boundaries at the picturesque stadium and the dew likely to be a factor yet again, it will be logical for India to stick to the two-spinner policy. However, it remains India sticks to benching Kuldeep Yadav or gives either Ravindra Jadeja or Yuzvendra Chahal a break to accommodate left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed.

The Windies, on the other hand, are grappling with their own issues in the spin bowling department. The likes of Devendra Bishoo and Ashley Nurse have neither succeeded in containing the in-form India batsmen nor have they picked wickets in the middle overs. It has cost the visitors dearly so far.

If rookie Obed McCoy, the left-arm pacer who relies heavily on his cutters and slower-ones, continues the good work from Visakhapatnam, the Windies will hope to expose the Indian lower order for the first time in the series. If they cannot, they might struggle to keep their spirits high by the time they travel to Mumbai from Pune on Sunday.

Teams (from):

India: Virat Kohli (Capt.), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Rishabh Pant, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (w.k.), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed, Umesh Yadav, K.L. Rahul, Manish Pandey.

West Indies: Jason Holder (Capt.), Fabian Allen, Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kieran Powell, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Oshane Thomas, Obed McCoy.

 

 

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