West Indies’ tour of India enters its final leg as both teams prepare for a face-off in a three-match T20 series. The first of these three encounters takes place at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 4. The Windies lost the Test series 2-0 and then suffered a 3-1 loss in the five-match ODI series with the second game ending in a tie.
India will be riding high on confidence, especially after crushing the Windies in the final ODI at Thiruvananthapuram which the hosts won by nine wickets. In an all-round display, India bowled out the visitors for just 104 runs before chasing down the target within 14.5 overs.
With captain Virat Kohli rested for the T20I leg of the tour, Rohit Sharma will once again take charge. But the talking point has been the omission of MS Dhoni, paving the way for the inclusion of Rishabh Pant. Youngster Washington Sundar returns to the side along with uncapped Krunal Pandya and Shahbaz Nadeem.
The Windies will also have a change at the helm with Carlos Brathwaite captaining the side. Brathwaite will be looking forward to walking out on the same ground where his four successive sixes in the final over helped the Windies clinch the World T20 crown in 2016.
They welcome back star players Darren Bravo and Kieron Pollard, who return to the national squad after a gap of two years and one year respectively, due to conflicts with the cricket board. Andre Russell is another big name to be included in the squad for the series.
India will have their work cut out for them especially having failed to overcome Brathwaite’s men in their last four encounters. The Windies even ended India’s campaign in the 2016 T20I World Cup, defeating them in the semi-finals.
Players to watch out for:
The Indian opener was at his explosive best in the final two ODIs and will be eager to carry forward his form into the T20I series. Captaincy also seems to be bring out the best in Rohit who notched up 317 runs in five innings while captaining the side at the Asia Cup. He averaged an astonishing 105.66 in that tournament.
The Windies all-rounder is the closest thing to what you could call a complete T20 player. While possessing the ability to tonk the ball effortlessly out of the park, Pollard can also contribute with the ball, sending down in-swingers which can unsettle any top-order batsman. He is also known for his prowess in the field and will be eager to make a mark in the series.
India: Rohit Sharma (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Lokesh Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, K Khaleel Ahmed, Umesh Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem.
West Indies: Carlos Brathwaite (C), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Andre Russell, Sherfane Rutherford, Oshane Thomas, Khary Pierre, Obed McCoy, Rovman Powell, Nicholas Pooran.
Possible Playing XI:
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Rishabh Pant (wk), Washington Sundar, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Yuzvendra Chahal.
West Indies: Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Andre Russell, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Kieran Pollard, Carlos Brathwaite, Fabian Allen, Keemo Paul and Obed McCoy
Betting odds for 1st T20I: (Betfair)
West Indies: 2.88
Where to watch/Live stream:
The match will be beamed live on Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD, and Star Sports Tamil at 7.00 PM. The match will also be streamed live on Hotstar.