After suffering a heavy beating at the hands of India in Tests and One-Day Internationals, Windies were expected to be a lot more competitive in the three-match Twenty20 International series. Fast forward two games, the Carlos Brathwaite-led side have already conceded the series to the home team and are on the brink of getting whitewashed for the second time in 2018.
Having lost the first two T20Is by five wickets and 71 runs respectively, Windies will look to end their Indian sojourn on a winning note when they step out at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Sunday for the third and final encounter.
Windies have been schooled in all facets of the game in this series. The batsmen have struggled, bowlers have looked out of place, while the catching and ground fielding has also been below par.
— BCCI (@BCCI) November 9, 2018
Both Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer, who were terrific in the ODIs, have scored a combined 45 runs in this series. The two have struggled against Jasprit Bumrah and Khaleel Ahmed, finding it difficult to score freely against some quality pace bowling. The decision to tinker with the combination at the top hasn’t helped their cause either.
Meanwhile, established names like Denesh Ramdin, Kieron Pollard, Darren Bravo and skipper Carlos Brathwaite too haven’t made any impact in the series. Not one Windies batsman has managed to cross the 30-run mark and that reflects how badly they have batted.
Among the bowlers, the 21-year-old Oshane Thomas has impressed the most with his pace and ability to take wickets but has lacked support from the others. After having a pretty good outing in Kolkata, Brathwaite and left-arm spinner Khary Pierre were taken for cleaners in the last match in Lucknow. The two gave away 101 runs from their eight overs and looked clueless against the mighty Indian batting line-up.
Windies have the option of trying out Obed McCoy and Sherfane Rutherford. While McCoy can bring some variety to the attack, the hard-hitting 20-year-old Rutherford can provide Windies the much-required batting firepower.
Meanwhile, with series already in the bag, India might look to give players like Shreyas Iyer, Washington Sundar and uncapped Shahbaz Nadeem an opportunity before they embark on the tour of Australia. The selectors have decided to rest pacemen Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav for Sunday’s game and have added Siddarth Kaul to the squad.
With Kuldeep out, one of Yuzvendra Chahal or Washington can get a game. Krunal Pandya has done well in both the games and captain Rohit Sharma will most probably persist with him, and if that happens, it will be tough to include Nadeem in the XI considering both are similar sort of bowlers.
Former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra believes India this is a perfect chance to try out your bench strength. “You are 2-0 up in the series and you have someone like Nadeem who has been doing well in the domestic circuit for a quite a few years now. It’s possible that we might never see him in Indian colours, so someone like him, or even Washington and Iyer should get a game,” he told Cricketnext.
In the batting department, Rohit ripped apart the Windies bowling attack in Lucknow and smashed his fourth T20I century. However, his partner in crime Shikhar Dhawan will like to add a few more runs under his belt before the Australian tour. The left-handed batsman has constantly been getting off to solid starts but hasn’t yet made a sizeable contribution.
While Rishabh Pant has failed to impress in both the opportunities, KL Rahul and local star Dinesh Karthik would prefer some more game time, and the same could be said about Manish Pandey. With Rohit in full flow, it won’t be a bad idea to give Rahul the opening slot.
The cricket loving fans in Chennai will surely miss their ‘favourite son’ MS Dhoni, who is not a part of the T20I squad, but with nothing on the line, they will hope India and Windies throw everything at each other to come up with an entertaining affair.
India: Rohit Sharma (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Shahbaz Nadeem and Siddarth Kaul.
Windies: Carlos Brathwaite (capt), Fabian Allen, Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Sherfane Rutherford, Oshane Thomas, Khary Pierre, Obed McCoy, Rovman Powell, Nicholas Pooran.