The Big Picture
Team India will look to continue their winning momentum and get one-step closer to the semi-final berth when they take on the West Indies at the Old Trafford in Manchester. This is a very crucial encounter for both sides. While Team India will look to put behind their indifferent performance against Afghanistan; one that nearly cost them the game, the West Indies will hoping to put the heartbreak of their narrow defeat against the Kiwis.
Cricket is a reflection of life. From exposing the chinks in your armor at the time when you least want them to appear to earth-shattering your dreams at the very last hurdle, it keeps you grounded, humble as well as in the present. Which is exactly what happened with these two sides in their last respective features. First, let's talk about the Men in Blue. After steamrolling the likes of Australia, South Africa, and arch-rivals Pakistan, the Men in Blue were expected to breeze past the Afghans, who were already plagued by off-field issues and controversies.
But on a track that had a plethora for their spinners, the elephant in the room once again came into the spotlight. That middle-order. And, as you would expect we got more question than answers after the game. Having not batted much in the tournament, the likes of MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav, who did score a half-century clearly looked rusty against the spinners while Vijay Shankar got himself in before throwing it away. Shankar also did not bowl a single over, raising questions whether the left-handed Rishabh Pant could add more potency to the middle-order especially if Shankar is not going to be used as an all-rounder.
And, so against the West Indies, the role of the top-order becomes even more potent. While India is not likely to be tested with a spin in the middle overs against the West Indies, they'll be up against the pace battery of Thomas, Cottrell, Roach, Holder, and co. As we have seen in all of West Indies games thus far, the Men in Maroon have gone hard at the opposition batsman at the start of the innings. Ask Pakistan, Australia or even New Zealand, who were reduced to 2-7 by Sheldon Cottrell, making the role of Rohit, Rahul and Virat Kohli very critical.
The West Indies, on the other hand, is on the knife edge as far as their hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals, and Jason Holder-men will hope to put the disappointment of the last game behind them and come up with a complete performance against India. The batting unit has blown hot and cold thus far but the likes of Shimron Hetmayer and Shai Hope, who had great success against India last year, will hold the key especially in the middle overs.
India vs West Indies rivalry has lost that intrinsic appeal in the past ten years but with the recent resurgence of the West Indies thanks to their quartet of fast bowlers, expect some fire in Babylon tomorrow.
Venue- Old Trafford, Manchester
Match Timing- Thursday, June 27th, 2019, 03:00 PM IST
Pitch & Weather conditions
Sunny and dry spells are expected to hover around Manchester on Thursday. Dryness might bring the spinners into play in the second half.
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been declared fit but is unlikely to make a return against the West Indies.
- Andre Russell has been ruled out of the tournament due to injury; Sunil Ambris called in.
Do you know?
- India has won five of the eight World Cup encounters against the West Indies; a W/L ratio of 1.66.
- West Indies haven't beaten India in a World Cup encounter since 1992.
- The team batting first seems to be getting a distinct advantage at Old Trafford. In all the three games played at the venue during this World Cup, the side batting first has won on every single occasion.
Probable Playing 11-
Rohit, Rahul, Virat [c], Shankar, Dhoni(WK), Jadhav, Pandya, Kuldeep, Shami, Chahal, Bumrah
Gayle, Hope [wk], Holder [c], Bravo, Pooran, Hetmyer, Brathwaithe, Nurse, Roach, Cottrell, Thomas.