West Indies vs India 1st T20I: Preview and Prediction￼
Flush with exciting talent and focused on the T20 cricket World Cup in less than three months’ time, the Rohit Sharma-led Team India would be aiming to get its combinations right when it takes on the West Indies in a three-match series beginning in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday.
India was the pre-tournament favourites but made a shocking group stage exit in the last T20 World Cup held in the UAE in October-November. The shambolic campaign exposed loopholes in the team combination and temperament, spoiling Virat Kohli’s swansong as T20 skipper.
India will look to make amends and rebuild the side with a packed T20 calendar lined up ahead of the marquee event in Australia beginning October 16.
Rohit, under whom Mumbai Indians have won five IPL titles, would be looking to sort out issues such as the opening blues, the middle-lower order conundrum and also the bowling strategies. And he will have a happy headache of plenty while trying to firm up the squad.
Unlike their flop show in the ODI series, the Nicholas Pooran-led West Indies would look to give a strong fight to the hosts in their favourite T20 format.
Boasting of T20 specialists, the Windies come here after beating Bangladesh 2-0 at home in a thrilling three-match series. They bat deep and with some aggressive hitters, the West Indies will hope to give India a tough fight.
Skipper Pooran has been in fine form for them and scored an unbeaten knock of 74 in the final T20I against Bangladesh to return with career-best figures in the format. With some exciting all-round options in Odean Smith and Akeal Hosein, Pooran’s men would look to make it count at a venue which will hold its first men’s T20I game.
What have they done so far?
India has been exceptional in the format having won 18 of their last 21 completed games in the format since losing to New Zealand in the T20 World Cup in UAE. The only three losses they suffered during this period were against a full-strength South African team while the Men in Blue were playing their reserve players in lieu of the rescheduled fifth Test against England at Edgbaston and another loss against England.
The team from Asia have in fact been very dominant in the format, winning five of their last six bilateral series again only drawing to the aforementioned South African team during this run. The team, who were touted favourites to win the 2021 T20 World Cup however would face a stern test against a hard-hitting and positive playing West Indies team in conditions that are alien to the visitors.
West Indies, meanwhile, have had a topsy turvy performance in the last eight months. Since the end of the 2021 T20 World Cup, they have been involved in four T20I series having won two against England and Bangladesh at home. However, they have also lost both of their away bilateral series during this run which includes a three-match series against India wherein they suffered a series white-wash.
The Men in Maroon have lost eight of their last 14 games in the format including three against India which prompted the hosts to change their leadership structure. Since Pollard’s retirement and Pooran’s assumption of the captaincy role, West Indies are undefeated in T20Is including two wins on the bounce.
Head to Head Record
India has been dominant over West Indies when it comes to men’s T20I internationals. The two sides have played each other 20 times in the format and the Men in Blue have been victorious in 13 of those games. Windies, meanwhile, has won six of the encounters played between the two sides. One game has also been abandoned between the two sides that were played in the United States.
However, things are totally different when it comes to games played between the two sides in the West Indies. Here, both sides have won an equal number of matches. Whilst West Indies have won two games against the Men in Blue at the Caribbean Islands, the visitors have also registered two wins out of four games.
Predicted Playing XI
West Indies: Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Shimron Hetmyer, Odean Smith, Nicholas Pooran (C & WK), Rovman Powell, Akeal Hosein, Romario Shepherd, Alzarri Joseph, Obed McCoy, Hayden Walsh
India: Rohit Sharma (C), Rishabh Pant (WK), Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, Harshal Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Arshdeep Singh
Nicholas Pooran (West Indies): Nicholas Pooran is amongst the most promising middle-order batters in limited overs cricket. The left-hand batter has done pretty well in T20 internationals, scoring 1301 runs from 60 matches at an average of 30 and strike rate of 130, including nine fifties.
Pooran has found some form, having smashed 74* in his last T20I innings. He also scored 73 in the final ODI against Bangladesh and 74 in the second ODI against India.
Suryakumar Yadav (India): Suryakumar Yadav didn’t have a great time in fifty-over cricket but he should enjoy the shorter format more. The right-hander has been magnificent in T20 cricket lately and his last innings was a sensational 117 off 55 in the third game against England.
SKY has an outstanding record in T20Is, scoring 537 runs in 17 innings at an average of 38 while striking at 177. Having already smashed one hundred and four fifties in the format, SKY remains a key player for India.
West Indies will be hoping to put up a far better fight than what they showed in the last bilateral T20I series against an Indian team that will be without their star players Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah, and hence the hosts have every reason to believe that victory is realistic.
However, India remains a T20 unit with significant depth and power-hitting with captain Rohit Sharma continuing to stamp his influence on the side since taking over from Virat Kohli. It is that power-hitting which may well prove the difference between the two teams here at the Brian Lara Stadium, Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago, particularly down the order.