Dominant India look to tame West Indies at home!
India will win the match!
Team India registered a thumping 2-1 win over the West Indies in the 3-match T20I series that ended on 11 December. It was an entertaining and hard-fought series and India eventually triumphed because of the strength of their top-order. The two teams now move on to play a 3-match ODI series starting from December 15 at Chennai.
While the West Indies love playing the T20 format - they are the reigning champions, after all - they haven't been that great in ODIs in recent times. They were horrible at the ODI World Cup in England this year and were defeated comprehensively 2-0 by India at home earlier in the year. They did beat Afghanistan in an ODI series last month but the Windies are too unpredictable to be considered a serious force in the format right now. India, who has been in excellent ODI form this year, will begin as favorites for the first match and the series.
Playing at home, India is very strong and it will be really tough for the West Indies to get past them.
India gets its main strength from its batting and primarily from its classy top-order. Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and skipper Virat Kohli are perhaps the strongest top 3 in world cricket right now. Virat Kohli, who was in exceptional form in the T20I series, loves batting against the West Indies - he has 9 hundred, 10 fifties and a spectacular average of 76.64 against them.
The Windies would thus be wary against Kohli more than ever. India's middle-order does appear weak as Shreyas Iyer is still inexperienced, Rishabh Pant is in horrible form and it is unclear who out of Kedar Jadhav and Manish Pandey will play the finisher's role. India's bowling, though, has enough variety. Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be taking care of the seam bowling option and are good enough to trouble any batting unit.
Whether Kohli plays both his spinners, Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, or uses only one and uses Shivam Dube as the seam-bowling all-rounder will be interesting to see.
Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shivam Dube, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur
Shreyas Iyer, Lokesh Rahul, Deepak Chahar, Kedar Jadhav, Kuldeep Yadav, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Rishabh Pant, Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami, Shivam Dube
On paper, West Indies have a very strong ODI unit; their batting, especially, looks explosive again. They have enough arsenal to take down any bowling side. In young Sunil Ambris and Even Lewis, West Indies have an electric combination at the start.
However, the injury to Lewis in the 3rd T20I against India is a concern and it is unclear whether he will be available for the first ODI. The West Indian middle-order is explosive as well with the dependable Shai Hope, along with the in-form skipper Kieron Pollard, Shimron Hetmyer and wicket-keeper batsman Nicholas Pooran forming the core. All these batsmen are in form and can be match-winners in their own right if they get going. Brandon King is another exciting option and may have a role to play.
The bowling side of the West Indies is a little weak and inexperienced. They would be highly dependent on Sheldon Cottrell, Jason Holder and Roston Chase to deliver for them. Hayden Walsh, Keemo Paul and Alzarri Joseph are still quite inexperienced and may find it tough on Indian pitches against the strong Indian batting.
Sunil Ambris, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope (wicketkeeper), Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Kieron Pollard (captain), Sheldon Cottrell, Alzarri Joseph, Hayden Walsh
Kieron Pollard, Shimron Hetmyer, Sunil Ambris , Hayden Walsh, Jason Holder, Nicholas Pooran, Sheldon Cottrell, Roston Chase, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Keemo Paul
The pitch at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai is a good ODI surface with something in it for the batsmen and the bowlers. However, it is likely to favor the batsmen more for a large part of the game as the ball will come on nicely to the bat. The spinners will find some grip in the middle overs and the seamers will get help if they use varieties. The weather in Chennai has been cloudy in the last few days and it is expected to remain the same on the day of the match. We should get a full game.
The MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai has seen some great ODI classics over the years because of the true nature of its surface. The average 1st innings score here is 239 and the average 2nd innings score is 214. The highest total achieved on this ground is 337-7 by Asia XI against Africa XI in June 2007. Totals of 300-plus have been achieved on five occasions here.
With the likelihood of dew setting in in the 2nd innings, the team winning the toss is likely to bowl first. Getting a decent target and chasing it down is the better option on this venue at this time of the season.
Team India is a very strong ODI outfit, especially when they are playing at home. The present unit under Virat Kohli is a very balanced one with only its middle-order being a worry. The West Indies, on their day, can take down any side and have enough explosiveness in their batting unit to even get past this Indian side.
However, they have shown their weakness in ODI cricket and their batsmen have displayed a lack of patience to stay in for long. Another thing worth noting is that in the last 6 ODIs between these two sides, India has won 5 and one game had no result. Hence, India will begin as favourites for this game and it would be prudent to back them as the winners for this contest.
India will win the match!