West Indies has the ammunition to make dents in the home team’s batting line-up
Shorter the format, bigger the thrill in cricket.
After the disappointing outings in the final two matches of the ODI series, West Indies gave a better account of itself in the opening T20I at the Eden Gardens on Sunday. It would be keen to raise its game ando stop India from sealing the three-match series at the new Ekana Stadium here on Tuesday.
Two matches within three days is a sure-shot recipe to drain the players. The tight schedule forced the members of both sides to stay away from having a look at the newest international venue in the country on Monday.
One may expect the batsmen to get used to the pitch before swinging their bats for quick runs. An insider’s claim about the possibility of the pitch producing a modest total makes one anticipate another low-scoring affair.
For India, the recovery led by Dinesh Karthik and debutant Krunal Pandya with a useful unbroken 27-run partnership at the Eden came as a sigh of relief. Nevertheless, the area of improvement will be the top-order batting.
During this phase of experimentation, the team will not lose its sleep over a rare off day by its leading batsmen, including captain Rohit Sharma. They need to be a little more circumspect in their approach.
In the bowling department, India was exceptional. Expect for some odd overs which cost runs in double digits, the bowlers generally bowled in good areas and struck frequently to deny West Indies a chance of recovery.
Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav again shone at his favourite venue and Krunal was parsimonious at the right stage to build pressure. When they bowled in tandem, they looked in command of the situation.
The three pacers, especially Khaleel Ahmed and Jasprit Bumrah, displayed their skill to test the West Indians thoroughly.
Despite the win in the first match, it may not be a surprise if India makes some changes to its playing XI.
West Indies batsmen will also focus on realising their potential which made the team World champion in the shortest format two years ago.
Names like Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Kieron Pollard, Darren Bravo and Carlos Brathwaite inspire confidence and the Carribbeans will fine-tune their game to come good at a stadium which is as good as a ‘neutral’ arena.
West Indies has the ammunition, a fine combination of pace and spin, to not only check India’s run flow but also make dents in the home team’s batting line-up. The way Brathwaite and Oshane Thomas dealt blows in Kolkata and motivated the rest of their colleagues to solidly defend a low aggregate would compel India to take note and find ways to meet the challenge.
Making it count
With just two matches left before the T20 series in Australia, India will try to make every opportunity count and travel Down Under with a morale-boosting clean sweep over the West Indies.
The touring party will be interested to spoil the host’s Diwali celebrations and turn the Chennai match into the decider.
The teams (from):
India: Rohit Sharma (capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, K.L. Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Khaleel Ahmed, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shahbaz Nadeem and Umesh Yadav.
West Indies: Carlos Brathwaite (capt), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre,Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Andre Russell, Sherfane Rutherford, Oshane Thomas and Shai Hope.
Match starts at 7 p.m..