India vs West Indies: Virat Kohli and Co. India aim to seal ODI series in style
India lead West Indies 2-1 going into the final ODI on Thursday. Virat Kohli-led team would hope to keep their recent good record in the Caribbean intactindia vs west indies 2017 Updated: Jul 05, 2017 23:49 IST
When India take on West Indies in the fifth and final ODI at the Sabina Park on Thursday, they’ll hope to keep their recent good record in the Caribbean intact.
They’ve won the last three ODI series in the Caribbean, and but for the loss in the previous game in Antigua, they would have already sealed their fourth by now.
However, nerves that resulted in a poor finish by the batsmen saw them lose a game they should have won in a canter.
India though have looked far better than West Indies throughout the series. The hosts only managed to pull back in the last few overs of the fourth ODI to bounce back in the series.
Hardik Pandya, who threw his wicket away and was one of the players to be blamed for India’s late wobble in the 11-run defeat, promised a change in approach in the final game. “We will be fearless in the final game. The previous game was one of those games where it did not click. But we will go ahead and express ourselves, that is when we play our best cricket,” he said.
Throughout the last phase of Sunday’s game, India needed a run-a-ball. However, a seemingly conservative approach added to the pressure under which India wilted.
Virat Kohli’s boys had a long net session on Tuesday with MS Dhoni having an almost half-an-hour stint. The former India skipper is coming off two successive fifties but the two innings have been a contrast. While the first one won him the Man-of-the-Match award, the second knock got him brickbats.
In the first, he carefully built his innings before unleashing shots to help India finish at a challenging total. In the second, however, he couldn’t take off and remained in his shell.
Wobbly in the middle
His failure revealed the weakness of India’s middle-order and how much it revolves around him.
Skipper Virat Kohli has said both Pandya and Kedar Jadhav need some more game time to learn to hold the middle order together and be effective.
In the past two ODIs, the top order, barring Ajinkya Rahane, failed, exposing the middle-order early.
Coach Sanjay Bangar refused to read too much into the loss saying it was a poor wicket in the last match that caused the problems while India chased.
After being asked to sit out for the last match, off-spinner R Ashwin looks likely to make a return, most likely at the expense of Ravindra Jadeja, who failed to pick a wicket and couldn’t get India over the line with the bat. Ashwin had picked three wickets in the third ODI, so it raised a few eyebrows when he was rested for Jadeja.
India’s record at Sabina Park is particularly bad. They’ve lost almost three-fourths of the ODIs they’ve played here. West Indies have a great record, including against India, who they’ve beaten four out of six times.