In the second ODI at Queen’s Park Oval, chasing 270 in 46 overs, West Indies needed 91 off 71 at one stage with six wickets in hand and a set batsman in Nicholas Pooran at the crease.
Percentage cricket for a few more overs was perhaps the way to go, but Pooran played a shot that was a microcosm of West Indies’ problems in ODI cricket. Skipping down the track in a premeditated manner, he ended up mistiming a pull to Virat Kohli at midwicket.
Pooran’s wicket triggered a collapse and the hosts slipped from 179 for 4 to 182 for 8, with the result all but decided.
At 23, Pooran is a young man with a bright future and the promise of winning many games for his team but West Indies will be hurting after squandering the opportunity to go 1-0 up in the series.
However, it wasn’t all gloom for them. Their bowlers had brought them into the match by conceding just 67 runs in the last ten overs. Come Wednesday, West Indies will have another chance – this time to level the series – as the two teams face each other at the same venue for the final ODI.
India, on the other hand, will be aiming to finish the white-ball leg of the tour undefeated. As far as their search for the No. 4 batsman is concerned, it looks like Rishabh Pant has his captain’s backing for now. Though he didn’t quite convince during his 20 off 35 balls in the last match, Pant should once again slot in at No. 4.
Shikhar Dhawan is yet to strike form after his return from the hand injury that cut his World Cup short, but it’s far from a worry for the team management at this moment.
West Indies LWLLL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
From the start of 2018 to the start of the World Cup, Shai Hope scored 1460 runs in 28 ODIs at an average of 66.36. More than half those runs came in just eight innings, while opening the batting. At the World Cup, where he batted mostly at No. 3, Hope had lukewarm returns – 274 runs at 34.25. After being dismissed for 5 in the second ODI, Hope will look forward to getting back among the runs.
Fifteen wickets in five innings. A bowling average of 6.73, a strike rate of 14.0. Only Curtly Ambrose has more wickets than Bhuvneshwar Kumar at Queen’s Park Oval. With the game in the balance, it was his three wickets in seven balls that turned the second ODI in India’s favour. India will be hoping for an encore from the swing bowler.
Evin Lewis, who struggled with his calf injury during the second ODI, has recovered well after a day’s rest and should be part of the playing XI. Fabian Allen is also fit and most likely will replace Oshane Thomas who went for 32 in his four wicketless overs on Sunday.
West Indies (probable): 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Shai Hope (wk), 4 Shimron Hetmyer, 5 Nicholas Pooran, 6 Roston Chase, 7 Jason Holder (capt), 8 Carlos Brathwaite, 9 Fabian Allen, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Sheldon Cottrell
With the series still not decided, India might once again field an unchanged XI.
India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Rishabh Pant (wk), 5 Shreyas Iyer, 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Khaleel Ahmed, 11 Kuldeep Yadav
Pitch and conditions
The weather is expected to be humid once again, with a forecast for showers throughout the day. Although teams batting first have won five of the last six completed ODIs here, the chance of rain might tempt the captains to bat second.
The match will be played on the same pitch as the last one.
Stats and trivia
“The preparation is good going into the last game. The previous game we cut the preparation short [because of the rain] but today we got a full practice [session] in. The boys are in good spirits and we are looking forward to go out there tomorrow and win the game and draw the series.”
Carlos Brathwaite is upbeat about West Indies’ chances of levelling the series
“I think it [the pitch] is slightly on the slower side; it’s not like a flat, proper wicket. You need to give yourself time when you go in, then you can score more runs.”
Rishabh Pant, on the Queen’s Park Oval pitch