India have the first of two chances to win the ODI series with West Indies on Wednesday when the two sides reconvene battle in Ahmedabad with the tourists knowing that they simply have to win this match to take it to a decider on Friday.
As well as the series at stake here there are more World Cup qualifying points up for grabs so that should ensure that we get something resembling a competitive game, one which should be better than the opening match now that West Indies have had a taste of conditions.
While they were comfortable winners of the opening match and the scoreboard looked convincing, I’m not sure India would have been completely happy with what happened in that series opener. They would have been delighted to win after coming up short in South Africa recently but they won’t have been especially happy with their run chase. They won with overs to spare but the way they did it four down will have been a concern but it is never a bad thing to have room for improvement.
The positive for India from that opening match was their bowlers. Although this isn’t West Indies best format of the game, any time you can bowl a side out for less than 200 these days you have done well. You would imagine there will be a little bit of natural improvement in the Indians here too because they’ve not long been back from South Africa and if that comes along then they will be confident of claiming the series at the first opportunity.
I would imagine West Indies weren’t expecting too much from themselves in the opening match given that they hadn’t had a warm up game in these conditions and that they were playing a T20 series on the other side of the world just seven days prior to this series, but there is a chance they would have wanted to be more competitive than they were. There should be plenty of natural improvement in this side but it needs to come out to keep the series alive.
The one thing West Indies are going to have to do here to keep the series competitive and in the future to give themselves a chance at winning a World Cup is improve with the bat. All too often they get stuck in a hole early in their innings and then by the time they negotiate a period where they can go on the attack it is too late. They also get bowled out far too often as well. If they can sort out their batting woes then there is no reason why their bowlers can’t make them competitive.
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KL Rahul has been declared fit to play this match and with the series not yet over his inclusion for Ishan Kishan is likely to be the only change to the side unless they decide to pick another spinner in helpful conditions.
I think West Indies will expect some natural improvement from the XI they picked for the opening match and as such they could well go in with the same side for this one. There isn’t a whole lot of options in their squad for replacements.
There isn’t a huge amount I like in this second match. I think in truth the better bets are going to come in the T20 matches which come after these ODIs but there is one which I think has a fair bit of mileage in it and that comes in the India boundaries where the line is 29.5 but I’m not convinced that is high enough. They batted second in the opening match and hit 25 of them in a chase of just 178 which shows us the potential for the over to land on this line.
I expect West Indies to bat better in this match. I don’t think they’ll plough the runs on the board although I do think someone higher up the order will take the bowling on and that should yield more runs and in turn more runs for India to get boundaries in if they are chasing. More boundaries should come naturally too with the return of KL Rahul to the top of the order. That offers hope if India are chasing and if they’re not it is hard to see them not scoring 30 boundaries in posting a score on this pitch so I like the over on this line.
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