West Indies vs India 4th & 5th T20I: Preview and Prediction
The action-packed T20I bilateral saga between West Indies and India is now heading towards an anticipated climax which will take place on American soil. The Men in Blues’ all-format bilateral saga with the Windies side will be now moving out of the Caribbean Islands to Lauderhill’s Central Broward Regional Park Stadium. Setting up a perfect weekend for cricket fans in the USA, the decisive 4th and 5th T20I of the series will take place on Saturday and Sunday successively in the Sunshine State.
Yashasvi Jaiswal had a forgettable debut day as he got out on the individual score after falling for the trap of Obed McCoy in the first over itself. However, the Rajasthan Royals youngster is likely to once again open the Indian innings along with Shubman Gill retaining his place in the playing XI.
On the other hand, Jason Holder who architected the hosts’ triumph in the opening game is expected to stay on the bench as he still seems to be not fit. During the second fixture, the 31-year-old suffered a knee injury which has kept him out of the action while his place in the team was taken by another bowling all-rounder Roston Chase.
While the bowling has been stupendous in the last few matches, Johnson Charles continues to disappoint against the Indian bowlers, Kuldeep Yadav in particular. The in-form Shai Hope is expected to anchor the Windies’ batting order and take the No.3 spot with Charles sitting out the USA leg of the series.
What have they done so far?
West Indies kick-started the 20-over campaign with a bang and stunned the highest-ranked T20I side to win the opening two games of the series. Skipper Rovman Powell and his boys staged the turnaround in the Trinidad fixture after edging out the visitors by 4 runs to successfully defend the challenging total of 149 runs.
It was followed by another triumph for the Men in Maroon as they registered another thrilling victory but this time at Guyana’s Providence Stadium with a winning margin of 2 wickets.
The two consecutive defeats in the opening matches drew criticism towards the captain Hardik Pandya and the team management as their preparations for the upcoming 2024 T20 World Cup was also brought under the scanner. Upon receiving the wake-up call, Team India quickly reacted to the crisis and orchestrated a compelling comeback in the last fixture of the Caribbean leg.
Kuldeep marked his return to the playing XI with three wickets which played a pivotal role in restricting the hosts on the first innings total of 159 runs. India had a shaky start to the run-chase as both of the openers departed from the battlefield inside the powerplay.
However, a robust 87-run partnership between Tilak Varma and Suryakumar Yadav for the third wicket retrieved the crisis. The visitors chased down this series’ highest target as the Player of the Match award was claimed by the Indian vice-captain who played marvellous innings of 83 runs off 44 balls in the winning cause.
Head to Head record
The Men in Blues have now taken an affirmative lead over the two-time World Champions who have always struggled against them when it comes to bilateral face-offs. Their lead over Windies in the head-to-head record is now equal to the number of matches won by the Caribbean combatants in this rivalry. India currently stands on 18 wins while their favorite foes have managed to emerge victorious only on nine out of 26 occasions.
The Lauderhill Arena holds the honor of USA’s only cricketing venue to host T20 Internationals and has witnessed 14 T20 games to date. India’s maiden international appearance on American soil was back in 2016 against the same opposition which was won by the Men in Maroon with the slightest win margin of 1 run. Windies emerged victorious in that two-match series after the second clash ended with no result, however, the Asian giants went on to win consecutive four encounters against their Caribbean counterparts since then.
Rovman Powell: The Windies skipper is leaving no stone unturned to revive the Caribbean fate and has also found success with diligent efforts. Powell was the highest scorer of the opening T20I scoring 48 runs from 32 balls when all other batters were struggling to fetch runs. He once again saved the day for his batting unit in the most recent game, scoring an incredible cameo of an unbeaten 40 at the strike rate of 210 to take them to a respectable total of 159.
Tilak Varma: It seems like the Men in Blues have found the new Mr Consistent in the middle order as the MI youngster has scalped runs in each and every appearance of his maiden T20I campaign. After playing a quickfire innings of 39 runs at the strike rate of 177 in his debut match, Tilak went on to score his first half-century in the very next game. He then played an unbeaten 49-run knock from 37 balls in the Third T20I helping his nation to register the first win.
Predicted Playing XI
West Indies: Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Shai Hope, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Rovman Powell ©, Shimron Hetmyer, Romario Shepherd, Roston Chase, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Obed McCoy
India: Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Hardik Pandya ©, Sanju Samson (wk), Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Arshdeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mukesh Kumar
Despite losing the most recent clash, Windies still stands as the favorite to win this forthcoming contest as the nature of the venue is going to play a major factor. Men in Maroon are more familiar with the American conditions as the USA also hosts several Caribbean Premier League fixtures in every edition and their experience gives them an additional advantage over the visitors.