Cuttack: After clinching a series-levelling win in Visakhapatnam, Team India will look to end the year on a high when they take on the West Indies in the deciding third ODI at the Barabati Stadium on Sunday.
India recovered from a crushing eight-wicket defeat in Chennai and made amends in Vizag to clinch a thumping 107-run victory in the second ODI.
Thus, the hosts would look to carry on that form in Cuttack and register what would be their 10th consecutive bilateral series win over the Windies.
Both the opening batsman, Rohit Sharma and K.L. Rahul, are in top form and they showed how destructive they can be when they shared a 227-run partnership for the first wicket and laid a solid platform for the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant to go full throttle towards the end.
Virat Kohli registered a rare first-ball duck in Vizag. However, that wouldn’t be worry for the hosts as the skipper is more than capable of completely whitewashing any opponent. And given his rare failure, he would himself be eager to get back to his usual best in the decider.
In the bowling department, fast bowler Navdeep Saini, who has replaced injured Deepak Chahar, could be in line to make his ODI debut at Barabati. Left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav also showed signs of returning to his usual best amidst all the run-fest in the second ODI, he became the first Indian bowler to pick two international hat-tricks.
However, one area where the hosts need huge improvement is their fielding, especially their catching. The Indian players have dropped too many catches in the recent T20Is and ODIs and this could prove costly if they make similar errors in the deciding match.
In the recent years, India’s fielding has improved by leaps and bounds and Kohli will expect his troops to make amends on that front going into the decider.
For West Indies, it would be about controlling the Indian batters who can shift gears at any moment. The likes of Sheldon Cottrell and Keemo Paul not only need to stop runs, but take wickets at the front to put pressure on the Indian batters.
When it comes to their batting, it will once again revolve around Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope who have been in great knick in the ongoing series.
And like India, the visitors too need to improve their fielding standards if they want to break the series-losing streak against the Men in Blue.
The pitch at the Barabati is expected to favour the batsmen and thus a high-scoring game can be expected, thus assuring fans quite a bit of entertainment who are expected to come in large numbers to see fours and sixes being hit by the Indian batters.
Squads: India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Shivam Dube, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur
West Indies: Sunil Ambris, Shai Hope, Khary Pierre, Roston Chase, Alzarri Joseph, Kieron Pollard (C), Sheldon Cottrell, Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Romario Shepherd, Jason Holder, Keemo Paul, Hayden Walsh Jr.
Pacers shine for India on Day 2 of warm-up game
Hamilton: Indian pacers came out with a remarkable performance on second day of the practice game against New Zealand XI being played at the Seddon Park.
On Saturday, the four Indian pacers — Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini — all bowled on immaculate line and lengths and bundled out New Zealand XI for 235.
While Shami was pick of the Indian bowlers as he picked up 3 for 17, Bumrah, Umesh and Saini picked two-two wickets each. Ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin scalped the remaining one wicket.
For New Zealand XI, Henry Cooper top scored with 40 while Rachin Ravindra and captain Daryl Mitchell contributed with 34 and 32 respectively.
With a lead of 28, Indian openers Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal then came out all guns blazing in the second innings and accumulated 59 runs in the seven overs they played before Stumps.
While Shaw scored 35* off the 25 balls he faced (5 fours and a six), Agarwal too smashed 23 runs off 17 balls (4 fours and a six), swelling India’s lead to 89.
In their first innings, India had been bundled out for 263 riding on Hanuma Vihari’s 101 and Cheteshwar Pujara’s 93.
Brief Scores: India 263 all out and 59/0 (Prithvi Shaw 35*, Mayank Agarwal 23*); New Zealand 235 all out (Henry Cooper 40, Mohammed Shami 3/17