As the race for top-four in the 2019 ICC World Cup (WC) heats up, an almost-eliminated West Indies (W1, L4, NR1) will look to turn the tables on an unbeaten India (W4, NR1) in Manchester, a side they have beaten just once in the last six H2Hs (W1, T1, L4).
In addition, the Windies have lost their last three WC H2Hs and four of the last five, with 1992 being the lone exception. Although they boast a 66.67% win-percentage in WC ODIs played in England (18 of 27), they have lost 70% of their last ten such matches.
This exciting Windies side has lost their last four completed ODIs and the last time they lost more in a row was between Jul – Dec 2017 (L8). Furthermore, they have lost nine of the 14 completed ODIs this calendar year and seven of their last ten WC ODIs, which is an indicator of their struggles for positive results.
The absence of Andre Russell adds yet more pressure, although the improving form of Shimron Hetmyer (171 runs, SR 110.32) and Chris Gayle (194 runs, SR 102.64) could make it interesting. Sheldon Cottrell (nine wickets) remains their best bowler in a unit that has struggled for penetration.
There’s no such worries for India, who have found Mohammad Shami (4 for 40) stepping up to fill the void left by Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s injury. Being stretched to the seams by Afghanistan was a blessing in disguise, as India stayed calm under pressure to snatch a win. With captain Virat Kohli (244 runs, SR 102.09) showing his true worth, the Indian top-order looks more settled than ever.
Questions remain, however, about a middle-order that struggled to keep the rate up against Afghanistan. Kedar Jadhav (SR 80.26), Vijay Shankar (SR 78.57) and an out-of-sorts MS Dhoni (SR 78.94) constitute a soft underbelly that the Windies can target. That is, of course, if they can keep the ultra-consistent Rohit Sharma (320 runs, Avg. 106.66) quiet.
Probable Playing XI
Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope (wk), Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder (C), Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Kemar Roach, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas.
KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (C), Vijay Shankar, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal.
IND vs WI – Players to watch out for
Kohli on average scores 50+ against the Windies every other game (16 in 32 ODIs) and is already the leading run-scorer in H2Hs (1,840 runs @ Avg. 70.76).
Gayle scores a 50 nearly every fourth innings against India (nine in 37 ODIs), but has no fifties in the last seven H2Hs since his last half-century in June 2009.
Windies have lost 11 of their last 15 WC ODIs. Windies have lost their last three WC ODIs played at this venue.
India have won 15 of their last 16 completed WC ODIs. Seven of India’s last ten losses in England have come when batting first. The last three matches at this venue were won by the team batting first.