India look to consolidate against West Indies
It is the last weekend before the knockout stages where the big teams face off and thus opportune time for the teams to get into the strides before the business end of the tournament (CWC 15) begins.
The weekend commences with the game in Perth between India and their Western counterparts. Twenty years earlier no one would have thought that an Indian Team will start as clear favorites against the formerly formidable West Indies side. But here we are in the era where West Indies is in shambles and India is displaying some finest cricket they have ever played.
West Indies campaign was mired in controversies even before they set a foot down under with the omission of their stalwart Dwayne Bravo and dynamic Kieron Pollard raising eyebrows. The apparent reason is team’s decision to leave the tour to India mid way owing to disagreement over wages.
India on the other hand was not in a great shape either. They spent two and half months in Australia without an international win and that too when World Cup was to follow. But what transpired in this Indian line up since the start of the event is anybody’s guess. They have been playing like the reigning world champions.
Everything has fallen into place like the missing pieces of jigsaw puzzle. Bowling, which was the gravest issue for the Indian management before the start of the World cup, has been impeccable. It is encouraging to watch the fast bowlers taking the lead and creating a platform for the spinners to flourish.
Shikhar Dhawan too has returned to his self with scores of 73 and 139 against Pakistan and South Africa respectively. It was a relief for the team to see him return to form which meant that the tinkering with Virat’s position has come to an end. Also dependency on Kohli seems to simmering down.
Having said that West Indies has been too reliant on the gallantry of Chris Gayle who has been inconsistent to say the least. To compound their problem his opening partner, Dwayne Smith, has been in awful form looking inept even against weakest of bowling.
However, with a batting line up that boasts Andre Russell at number eight they can win a game solely on their batting on any given day. With the tournament format designed in such a way that one good day for any team could mean a ticket in the semi final berth under rate West Indies at your own peril.
Bowling is their weak link with Jerome Taylor and Jason Holder being the only front line bowlers and then contending with Russell and Sammy complete their quota. With Russell improving consistently in the bowling they can hope for an improved show in the bowling.
The dynamism they possess in their batting could well petrify the teams at the top. And this is what Indians must give respect to and hope to keep their bowling in the right place.
Team News :
India will welcome back their death bowler Mohammad Shami after he was forced to sit out for the game against UAE due to a niggle. But now he is all set to replace Mohit Sharma in the XI.
India (probable) : 1. Rohit Sharma 2. Shikhar Dhawan 3. Virat Kohli 4. Ajinkya Rahane 5. Suresh Raina 6. MS Dhoni 7. Ravindra Jadeja 8. Ravichandran Ashwin 9. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar 10. Mohammad Shami 11. Umesh Yadav
West Indies despite their horrific performance against South Africa is expected to be unchanged for the game against India.
West Indies (probable) : 1. Dwayne Smith 2. Chris Gayle 3. Marlon Samuels 4. Lendl Simmons 5. Jonathon Carter 6. Denesh Ramdin 7. Darren Sammy 8. Andre Russell 9. Jason Holder 10. Jerome Taylor 11. Sulieman Benn
The Pitch :
Match is to be played at Perth and we need not say more about the conditions there. India played their last match at this ground against UAE but it was a no contest as India bundled out UAE for a paltry 102.
However the second match played here was contrasting with Australia thrashing Afghanistan to get a total of 417. The pitches did not look the traditional Perth pitches and we won’t be surprised if we see a total of 280-300 which could be a winning one here.
The Odds :
India is 1.44 to win the match but this is more of a reflection of how West Indies has performed. Their mercurial performances have not helped either. But given their batting firepower at the top we are going to back them to lay but will be lopsided with the Indians.