The opening T20 international between West Indies and India was a one-sided affair last week so it will be interesting to see if the second game is more competitive when the two sides head to St Kitts for the second game of five on Monday.
Both teams will be using these matches to build towards the T20 World Cup but if they can claim a series win against the other it will certainly feel significant. West Indies need to win to level the series while an India win puts them two up with three to play.
The two strengths of the West Indies in this format of the game proved to be their weakness in the opening match as they were undone at the death when they had the ball in hand and their batting effort never really got going, to the extent that they were beaten from a mile out. It was one of those matches where the margin of defeat did the match justice so it goes without saying that they will be hoping for much better from this outing.
The one thing West Indies did better than they have been doing recently was rotate the strike early in their innings. It did them no good in the end but it is a positive that they are improving on that front. They can let their six hitting prowess come through in this match on a small ground but when they get to Australia the strike rotation will serve them well. If they can hold themselves together at the death with the ball then they can still be competitive here.
This is a really good run of form for India in white ball cricket. The fact they are winning white ball matches is nothing new but that they are doing it without so many established performers is more outstanding and shows us how much depth they have. While all their stars will be around when the World Cup begins in October, they won’t be going into the lead up to that tournament worried about injuries because they know the replacements can do the business. That is never a bad thing.
What I like about India at the minute is how smart they are with the bat. They go hard at the beginning of the innings and if it comes off fantastic but the times when it doesn’t they are able to park the egos, rebuild the innings and set it up for those whose roles are to finish the innings spectacularly. Whatever side India put out and whichever conditions they play in, their bowling resources are such that you expect them to deliver the goods.
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Alzarri Joseph continues to be expensive in these matches against India and with Romario Shepherd waiting in the wings now it is a fairly obvious switch for that change to be made. Brandon King is expected to replace Shamarh Brooks.
India might be tempted to leave one of the spinners out of their side and I would imagine R Ashwin would be the one to make the drop down to the bench. Harshal Patel is waiting to make an impact in the series in an otherwise unchanged side.
We saw 12 sixes in the opening match of the series in Trinidad where West Indies only scored 122/8 and conditions weren’t particularly conducive to six hitting. That isn’t the case here at Warner Park. This is a tiny ground and the wickets here are usually excellent for batting so I expect the sixes to really flow over the course of this one. We see in the CPL matches on this ground that the sixes tallies often run into the 20s and there is no shortage of power with the bat to get us there again.
When you consider that there were a dozen sixes in that opening match and that Rishabh Pant and Hardik Pandya didn’t hit any then there is a natural progression in the number to be had but that was on a bigger ground than this in spin friendly conditions. We don’t get anything like that in this match so I’m a little surprised the sixes line is only 14.5. I don’t expect West Indies to bat as poorly again so I like the over here.
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