West Indies vs India 1st T20I: Preview and Prediction
After a successful series victory in the Test and ODI format, the caravan moves to the T20I tent as five mouth-watering encounters await the cricket fraternity. The first T20I between West Indies and India will be held in the Brian Lara Cricket Academy, the same venue where the decider of the ODI series was held, and India won convincingly by a margin of 200 runs.
The T20I squad for India has earned a few names that have showcased their potential in the domestic circuit for an extended period of time. The Men in Blue will be captained by Hardik Pandya, who was also the interim skipper in the absence of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli during the final two ODIs. Suryakumar Yadav will be the deputy to his former Mumbai Indians teammate for the upcoming five T20I matches.
The T20I camp sees the addition of two left-handed batters who have had a stupendous last few months in the IPL, and a few international games. Yashasvi Jaiswal and Tilak Varma are the ones who have earned their maiden T20I call-up. The former had already proved his mettle in the international standards after kickstarting his international phase with a score of 171, breaching various sheets in the record books. The latter has been brilliant for his Hyderabad in the domestic matches and also has been a revelation for the Mumbai Indians in the past couple of years.
The selection committee under the leadership of Ajit Agarkar as the chairman, brought back the services of Sanju Samson and Ravi Bishnoi in the T20I squad. In addition, the fast bowling department witnessed the call-up of Avesh Khan who will shoulder his arms in the net sessions along with bowlers such as Arshdeep Singh, Mukesh Kumar, and Umran Malik.
From the last T20I series that India played against New Zealand in February, this year, there are half a dozen members omitted from the side including Jitesh Sharma, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Prithvi Shaw, Washington Sundar, Rahul Tripathi, and Deepak Hooda.
From the West Indies point of view, they have announced a 15-man squad which will be led by Rovman Powell with Kyle Mayers serving as the deputy. Wicketkeeper-batter, Shai Hope who was also in charge of the leadership duties in the ODI format has earned a call-up in the T20I format.
In addition, the side also bolsters the summon of Oshane Thomas and Obed McCoy who have been in and out of the side due to injury. The former played his last T20I game in December 2021 against Pakistan in Karachi. The squad also witnesses the return of Shimron Hetmyer who underwent poor form during the ODI series.
Odean Smith who was trimmed from the ODI squad for the World Cup Qualifier gets a place with Romario Shepherd and Jason Holder being the other seam bowling all-rounders. Roston Chase will be a part of the spin department alongside Akeal Hosein.
What have they done so far?
The visitors are arriving on the back-to-back series wins- the Tests and the ODIS against the same opposition i.e. West Indies. Firstly, India steamrolled the home side in the first Test which they won by an innings and 141 runs in Dominica. The next Test saw some valiant fightback from the Caribbean side but ended up as a washout.
Moving on to the white ball format, Ishan Kishan’s half-century boosted India to take a 1-0 lead in the 3-match series. Both the senior batters were rested in the next game where the home side cashed on seeing the advantage. India folded over for 181 and Windies chased down the target with ease, equalling the tally and adding more spice to the decider.
Cometh the third ODI, India went with the same approach tinkering with the playing XI with two changes. Kishan continued his good form and was well assisted by Shubman Gill’s revival innings of 85 runs. The middle-order trio of Sanju Samson, Hardik, and Suryakumar helped India put a total of 351 runs on the board.
The bowlers did the damage with Mukesh Kumar decimating the Windies’ top order within the first seven overs and Shardul Thakur claiming a four-fer to see off India with a 2-1 series triumph.
When we speak about the head-to-head clash between West Indies and India in T20Is, the Asian side remains ahead with 17 wins from 25 matches. Their counterparts could win just 7 encounters with one of the games being a washout.
Nicholas Pooran (West Indies): There should not be an iota of doubt about how good a T20 batter Nicholas Pooran is. We have seen him every now and then, changing the complexion of a match within a few moments. One may speak about his recent innings of 137* (55) in the inaugural MLC Final or maybe the impact he has had for the Lucknow Super Giants during IPL 2023.
Pooran is back in the maroons and therefore is highly expected to deliver for his side in the same form. One may expect him to bat at the middle order and charge the opposition bowlers with grace.
Suryakumar Yadav (India): The no.1 ranked ICC T20I batter has to be one of the key assets for the Men in Blue going about in the series. India is eyeing the 2024 T20 World Cup and might look to build a core that looks fresh and under new leadership. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons why Hardik Pandya is leading the side and Surya is adjudged the vice-captain for the five-match T20I series against West Indies.
The Mumbai-batter was in tremendous form during the second half of the 2023 IPL and was also seen to go hammer and tongs in the final ODI against the West Indies. With a lot of responsibilities on his shoulder, Surya would look to keep up with the rising expectations.
West Indies: Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Johnson Charles, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Rovman Powell ©, Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase, Akeal Hosein, Romario Shepherd, Alzarri Joseph, Obed McCoy
India: Ishan Kishan (wk), Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson, Tilak Varma, Hardik Pandya ©, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Mukesh Kumar
India is arriving on the back of a series of victories against the same team and therefore will be high on momentum. Although one cannot write this Windies side in this particular format against any opposition, the Asian side should be favorites to win the series.