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Ind-WI

West Indies face uphill task against India as format changes

Ind v WI, 1st ODI, preview

Having lost the T20I decider in Mumbai, West Indies will now take on No.2-ranked India in a three-match ODI series, starting on Sunday, 15 December in Chennai.

Overview

India v West Indies, 1st ODI
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai.
Sunday, 15 December; 1:30pm IST, 08:30am GMT

The head-to-head count between India and West Indies in ODIs is currently an even 62 wins each, but the gulf between the two sides has progressively widened in the last decade or so. West Indies showed some promise in the T20Is, but a lack of consistency cost them the series.

In the 50-over format, their struggles have been apparent in the last few years, with the drawn series against England at home earlier this year being the lone highlight. Barring their 3-0 sweep of Afghanistan last month, West Indies have gone without a win in 16 bilateral ODI series since August 2014.

However, the return of Shai Hope, their top-ranked batsman in the MRF Tyres ICC Men's ODI Rankings for Batsmen, and the intensity of their newly-appointed skipper Kieron Pollard, might be the spark they need to revive their ODI form.

India, despite injuries to opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan and pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, will be confident of coming through unscathed, especially in home conditions.

Despite the absence of Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar, captain Virat Kohli has a few tough calls to make when it comes to the XI. One big question revolves around the spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal; bowling coach Bharat Arun suggested, on the eve of the match, that they could play together on Sunday, and the slowness of the Chennai pitch will only help their chances.

Remember the last time

After sweeping West Indies 3-0 in the T20Is, India won the second ODI (rain forced abandonment of the first match) on their tour of the Caribbean in August and September earlier this year. West Indies opted to bat in the rain-curtailed decider, and got off to a flyer, with Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis adding 115 for the first wicket in just 10.5 overs. However, both fell within the space of five balls, and the hosts couldn't quite build on the foundation, finishing at 240/7 in 35 overs.

India lost Rohit Sharma early in the revised chase of 255, but Kohli put up yet another masterclass in a run-chase, and registered his 43rd ODI ton to set up the game. India did lose Dhawan and Rishabh Pant in quick succession, but Shreyas Iyer provided great support to the captain with a stroke-filled 41-ball 65. Kedar Jadhav then joined Kohli to finish the job, and India eased home by six wickets with 2.3 overs to spare.

What they said

Bharat Arun, India bowling coach: "We were looking at an ideal combination which gives absolute balance to the team. Also there was an option, where we could use [Ravindra] Jadeja as an all-rounder. So that really helped us and yes, there may be occasions when there are conducive conditions, both Kuldeep and Chahal can be playing together. But we will have to look at the overall balance before we decide the team."

Kieron Pollard, West Indies captain: "Not difficult to pick ourselves up. There are a lot of positives coming out of the T20I series. It's a different format altogether and [there are] a couple of different guys – six guys, I think – coming in who have been here since the start of November. So, they've been working hard to get an opportunity to see how the Indian team goes about things, and hopefully we can plan and execute it better."

Conditions:

Sunny intervals and light winds are expected through a hot and humid day, with temperatures hovering around 25 to 30°C. The pitch in Chennai has a reputation of slowing down as the game progresses, and teams batting first have won six of the last seven games played at the venue.

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