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India v West Indies 1st T20I, Lauderhill – Preview

ICC World T20 champion will hope to ride on explosive firepower to make the early running in two-match series

India v West Indies 1st T20I, Lauderhill – Preview - Cricket News
The reigning ICC World Twenty20 2016 champion against the team that has an almost fanatical backing around the world is the mouth-watering prospect that awaits cricket fans in the United States of America over the weekend.
 
West Indies, with a new skipper at the helm in Carlos Brathwaite, and India under the stewardship of old warhorse Mahendra Singh Dhoni, will lock horns in a two-match T20I series at Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida, on August 27 and 28, hoping to help cricket make a serious impression on the land of basketball, American football and baseball.
 
Already, the venue has come in for high praise for the facilities on offer with Anil Kumble, the India coach, expressing pleasant surprise at what greeted him and his team during its first practice session on Thursday. "I was thinking this was going to be a makeshift venue, having never seen this. I'm very impressed,” the former India skipper said. “The wicket looks good for T20I cricket, the outfield is fast, and the other facilities are also very good. All in all, I'm very impressed with the infrastructure here."
 
Once past the novelty factor, both teams will be quick to realise that there is plenty to play for in this two-match series. West Indies can displace India from the No. 2 spot in the ICC T20I rankings if it wins 2-0. Any other scoreline will keep India in its current position, although a 2-0 sweep will pull it alongside New Zealand at the top of the standings, the Kiwis clinging on to the top spot only when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point.
 
India is carrying form and consistency with it, having dominated West Indies during a 2-0 victory in the rain-hit four-match Test series in the Caribbean though neither Dhoni nor Jasprit Bumrah, the two additions that didn’t figure in the Tests, has had any competitive cricket of late. West Indies, bolstered by the return of its limited-overs specialists, is in equally good space coming into this series, what with a majority of its players having honed their skills in the Caribbean Premier League which also made a brief stop at this venue earlier this month.


 
With Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Samuel Badree and Dwayne Bravo all in the mix, West Indies wears a formidable look in a format it is totally at home in. There is a profusion of tremendous firepower with the bat and versatility with the ball that helped the team go all the way in the World T20, under Darren Sammy, in India earlier this year. Sammy has since been sacked as captain and dropped altogether from the side, leaving Brathwaite to assume the leadership role. Brathwaite himself had provided the decisive course in the final of the World T20 against England in Kolkata with four consecutive sixes off Ben Stokes to snatch a match that appeared headed the way of Eoin Morgan’s side.
 
West Indies had brushed India aside in the semifinal of that tournament in Mumbai despite a brilliant unbeaten 89 by Virat Kohli, the Test captain. After India amassed 192 for 2, the eventual winner rode on a bruising unbeaten 82 by Lendl Simmons – a late replacement for the injured Andre Fletcher – and a stormy 43 not out by Russell to canter home by seven wickets. It’s unlikely that either side would have forgotten that result. West Indies will target an encore, India will hope to make its international debut in the United States a memorable one and level the head-to-head between the teams at 3-3.
 
Teams (from):
India:
MS Dhoni (capt, wk), R Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Jasprit Bumrah, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Mohammed Shami, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav.
 
West Indies: Carlos Brathwaite (capt), Samuel Badree, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles (wk), Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons.

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