Kolkata: The Indian team barring that one match was absolutely dominant in the ODI series in all facets of the game. Coming into the series, they were the clear favourites and their positive attitude is highly appreciated after that heartbreaking loss to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final. But the men in blue continued to do what they do best by clinching the ODIs 3-1.
But the shortest format of the game presents a different challenge altogether. Firstly, they would be up against a team that is quite different from the one that played the ODI series. Big names like Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree would take the field against India and Virat Kohli and his men would be well aware of the fact that they will not have it easy against the star-studded West Indian side.
Statistically, West Indies could really pose a solid challenge to the Indian side heading into the match. In their last few encounters in the shortest format, India haven’t been able to go past the Caribbean. Not many would forget the semi-final of last year’s World T20 in India, where explosive batting stunned hosts who were a favourite to win the title.
These two teams met in a T20 series months after that where again it was the defending World T20 Champions who got the better of the men in blue as they eked out a win by a solitary run in the first game. The other match of the series was called off due to rain as a result of which, the West Indies took home the series.
But things wouldn’t be as simple as it seems to be. The skipper of the Indian team-Virat Kohli is in superb touch at the moment and would enter the match fresh from having scored a scintillating hundred. Although the format and the bowling attack would change, the Indians would be hoping that the number one ranked T20I batsman continues with his good form. Also, there has been speculations that he might open the innings.
For the Indians, Rishabh Pant who had warmed the benches for the entire ODI series might get to feature in the playing XI. There is enough firepower in the batting and with the presence of hard-hitters like Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav down the order, the Indians would feel confident about themselves. Also in the bowling department, the in-form Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami could turn out to be the game-changers with the ball.
But the presence of Chris Gayle at the top of the order would surely worry the Indians. Although he last played for the West Indies in the World T20 last year and hasn’t been in the best of forms in the IPL this year, the burly aggressive left hander has the capability of changing a game on it’s head on any given day.
The epic contest looks like a clash of equals. Will Virat Kohli and his men end their tour on a high? Or will the West Indies show some fightback?
A cracker of a contest awaits us.