When India put up 321 runs on the board in the Visakhapatnam ODI, riding high on a brilliant century by Kohli, everybody anticipated it to breeze past the depleted West Indies. However, cricket has its share of uncertainties and they unfolded gloriously here leading to a draw, which is a rare outcome in this format. India could have put up some more runs on the board had the lower order responded but it was the bowling that led to the team’s undoing in this nail-biting contest between two unevenly matched teams. That said, credit goes to the Windies who held their nerves in pressure, despite being labeled as the underdogs by supporters and critics alike.
As the focus shifts to the third ODI scheduled at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on October 27, hopes of a West Indian revival are alive and well. The Caribbean team will enter the contest with confidence, which was amiss all through the test and the ODI series thus far. In this ODI and the subsequent ones too, they will be heavily banking on youngsters, Shai Hope, and Hetmyer, to get them runs while Chandrapaul Hemraj could be the surprise package. The experienced pros, Kieran Powell and Marlon Samuels, are due for runs and may deliver in the upcoming contest, while skipper Jason Holder and Roach are the bowlers to watch out for.
Although India’s top order, read Rohit-Virat duo, is playing well, its frailties in the middle order continue to haunt with Dhoni yet to gain some form and Pant yet to deliver in this version of cricket. India would be expecting Shikhar to come up with a strong performance since the law of averages is bound to catch up with Kohli. However, India’s nemesis is its bowling attack that looks lackluster in absence of Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar. The management will be tinkering with the bowling for obvious reasons and may replace Umesh Yadav with Khaleel Ahmed.
Despite being unable to force a win in the previous contest, India still is the favorite for the Pune ODI. They just need to shed complacency that might have crept in due to a string of back-to-back wins and get their act together particularly in the bowling department. Thanks to an inspiring chase by the Windies, you can take them lightly only on your peril. The Pune pitch has a reputation for being a belter of a pitch, which suits their skill sets and style of play.
|Match||India vs Windies, 3rd ODI|
|Match Days||27 October 2018 – day/night match (50-over match)|
|Time||08:00 AM GMT / 01:30 PM LOCAL|
|Venue||Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune|
|Match number||ODI no. 4062|
|TV Umpires||Ian Gould|
|Match Referee||Chris Broad|