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India vs West Indies: Virat Kohli & Co look to bounce back in Mumbai ODI

India will look to find the ‘perfect’ balance in their playing eleven when they take on a resurgent West Indies in the fourth One-day International in Mumbai on Monday.

cricket Updated: Oct 29, 2018 08:40 IST
Ankit Kumar Singh
Ankit Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
India vs West Indies,Virat Kohli,Mumbai ODI
Virat Kohli plays a shot during the third one day international (ODI) cricket match between India and West Indies.(AFP)

In the second ODI against West Indies in Visakhapatnam, India skipper Virat Kohli eclipsed Sachin Tendulkar as the fastest to reach 10,000 ODI runs.

With 38 hundreds under his belt, it is only a matter of time before he goes past Tendulkar’s tally of 49 centuries in the 50-over format.

The Delhi-born cricketer, however, had to experience the same feeling on Saturday that Tendulkar went through for the better part of the 90s. Just like India’s hopes hinged on Tendulkar’s shoulders during the 90s, the Pune ODI too appeared to be a contest between West Indies and Kohli. India were in the contest as long he was in the middle and the moment he was dismissed, it was curtains for the hosts.

In fact, the ongoing series has underlined the difference between Kohli and other Indian batsmen. While the Indian captain has accumulated a staggering 404 runs with an average of 202, none of the other home batsmen have managed to aggregate 200.

READ: MS Dhoni’s worst run ever: Numbers reveal stalwart’s struggles in 2018

As India take on West Indies in the fourth ODI at the Brabourne Stadium on Monday, Kohli would want others, especially the struggling middle-order, to step up as well for a defeat here would give the visitors an unassailable 2-1 lead.

Pace bowling worries

That India have a wobbly middle-order has been evident for quite some time, but this series has also exposed India’s over-reliance on Jasprit Bumrah. Barring Bumrah, who claimed a four-for on his return, none of the other Indian seamers have looked the part in the three matches so far. Bumrah’s opening partner Bhuvneshwar Kumar leaked 70 runs in his comeback game at Pune.

Going into the World Cup, India need to find at least two pacers who can partner Bumrah. On Monday though, India are likely to play with only two pacers and include Ravindra Jadeja in place of Khaleel Ahmed. Jadeja’s return can bolster the lower-order that looked a bit too long with Bhuvneshwar batting at No. 7.

READ: Ashley Nurse reveals reasons behind “Babaji Ka Thullu” celebrations in Pune ODI

In the batting department, the team has an option of playing Kedar Jadhav who has been included for the last two ODIs. Whether he is picked at the expense of MS Dhoni or Rishabh Pant remains to be seen.

WI’s triple H factor

For West Indies, the change of format has helped. While they were drubbed in Test matches, they have gone from strength to strength in the limited-overs format. After losing the first ODI tamely, they somehow found a way to tie the second game before producing their most clinical performance of the tour to register their first win of the trip on Saturday.

At the heart of West Indies’ redemption has been the triple H factor—Hetmyer, Hope and Holder. While Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope have done the bulk of scoring for the visitors, aggregating 237 at an average of 79, and 250 at an average of 125 respectively, Jason Holder has led the team brilliantly. He has backed young players and has contributed crucial runs down the order.

READ: Virat Kohli refuses to speak about own century after India lose third ODI

Experienced Marlon Samuels, who had a great record in ODIs in India coming into the series, has so far not fared well with the bat but he showed his worth by castling Kohli in Pune. Young all-rounder Ashley Nurse has been quite impressive too, bowling some tight spells and hitting lusty blows towards the end.

If the visitors can continue the momentum on Monday, they have a great chance of taking one step closer towards becoming the first team to beat India in a home ODI series since South Africa in 2015-16.

First Published: Oct 28, 2018 19:37 IST