Preview- India slightly ahead against dangerous but inconsistent West Indies
Both India and West Indies have had contrasting fortunes in the ICC World Cup 2019 in England. Team India, after dodging a royal scare against Afghanistan in their last game, are unbeaten in the tournament for now and are in the 3rd position at the points table with 9 points from 5 games at a Net Run Rate of +0.809. West Indies, after nearly pulling off a miraculous win against New Zealand in their last match, are down at 6th in the points table with 3 points in 6 games at a Net Run Rate of +0.190.
Thus, when the two teams square off India will be feeling confident of getting past a down on confidence West Indies at Old Trafford, Manchester. But they will still be wary. In the last five ODIs between the two sides, India has won 3, lost once and tied one game with the West Indies.
Moreover, the West Indies, despite their uneven performance in the World Cup, have shown that they can surprise any team on their day.
India’s concern will be their middle-order. After Shikhar Dhawan’s ouster from the World Cup due to injury, their batting unit suddenly looks susceptible. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have been piling on the runs. But KL Rahul still doesn’t look utterly confident as the opener. MS Dhoni struggled against Afghanistan (28 off 52 balls) and Vijay Shankar hasn’t done anything to inspire confidence as a dependable No.4 batsman. Kedar Jadhav did score a fifty in his last game but didn’t look fluent.
The West Indian seamers can exploit this weak middle-order.
India’s bowling, however, is in supreme form. Jasprit Bumrah is coming off a Man-of-the-Match performance (2-39) against Afghanistan, and Mohammad Shami took a sensational hat-trick in the same match to close the game for India. India’s spin twins – Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav – can be the biggest threat for West Indies as both are in form and the opposition is always weak against good leg-spin.
West Indies would be feeling good that Carlos Braithwaite’s spectacular 101 took them so close in the game against New Zealand. However, their batting unit hasn’t been consistent. The likes of Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer have to do the bulk of the scoring against India.
The West Indian bowling has reliable pace options in Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell, and captain Jason Holder. If they can make early inroads in the Indian batting, then they would have a real chance.
Pitch Conditions and West Indies vs India Prediction:
The pitch at Old Trafford, Manchester, is expected to favor batsmen and one should expect to a high-scoring contest. In this World Cup alone, England has amassed 397-6 and India put on 336-5 on this same venue.
Hence, the team batting first should get more than 300 at least. While India will be a little wary of the West Indies after their poor performance against Afghanistan and after West Indies’ sunning comeback against New Zealand, they should win this game given their all-round stability and the strength of their spin bowlers. However, a surprise from the West Indies cannot be ruled out.