by Elton Gomes
With the return of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, a rejuvenated Team India will look forward to extending its series lead to 2-0 in the third ODI to be played at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Saturday.
Virat Kohli and his team trounced West Indies in the opener in Guwahati by eight wickets. However, the gritty visitors made a comeback of sorts in the second ODI by denying the hosts a victory.
Although India’s batting prowess continues to impress in home conditions, the bowling department has several areas to improve. In both the ODIs at Guwahati and Vizag, Indian bowlers were unable to control the game and gave away more than 600 runs. Small wonder then that the Indian selectors opted to bring back Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.
The pitch at Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune, tends to favour seamers. Hence, along with Kumar and Bumrah, it is likely that Khaleel Ahmed might start the match.
Ravindra Jadeja’s recent struggles could lead to his exclusion as Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav continue to remain captain Virat Kohli’s first choice spinners. Yadav is short of 2 wickets to complete 50 scalps under Virat Kohli’s captaincy in ODIs.
The West Indies will look to bank on Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope’s surge in form. The Windies will also hope that Rovman Powell, Kieron Powell, and Chanderpaul Hemraj prove their worth.
Another concern for the Windies has been the lack of ineffectiveness of Devendra Bishoo who has the worst bowling average (65.20) in the list of spinners in 2018 in ODIs.
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (C), Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (WK), Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar could form the probable 11 for India.
The visitors could feature Keiran Powell, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Shai Hope (WK), Shimron Hetmyer, Marlon Samuels, Rovman Powell, Jason Holder (C), Ashley Nurse, Devendra Bishoo, Kemar Roach, Obed McCoy.
Windies look to prove a point
The Windies might not have won a single match in this series, but they will be riding high after restricting India to a draw in the second ODI. Considering the result at Vizag, the Windies will surely be bolstered by their abilities.
Thanks to Shimron Hetmyer’s hitting prowess in both games and Shai Hope’s classy innings in the second ODI, the Windies have managed to cross 320 in both ODIs. However, their batsmen will have to fire on all cylinders to defeat Virat Kohli and his men.
If Obed McCoy, the left-arm pacer who relies heavily on his cutters and slower-ones, continues his decent form from the second ODI, the Windies will look to cause a huge upset in Pune.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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