Spotlight on the big names from the IPL in one-off T20I

Match facts

Venue: Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica
Date and time: July 9 (Sunday), 10:30 local, 15:30 GMT and 21:00 IST

The main picture

Whenever India and the West Indies face off in a Twenty20 International, the IPL connection is something which cannot be overlooked, particularly with a number of Indian and West Indian cricketers playing for the same franchise. Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard and MS Dhoni are massive names in the Indian Premier League. And though a no-brainer, the knowledge gathered from playing in the Indian T20 league will be utilised by players of both teams come Sunday. The player battles—for instance, Samuel Badree against Kohli, who captains the leg-spinner at RCB—indeed form the greatest subplot to this one-off T20I.

West Indies’s pedigree in the sport’s shortest format is well-known: they have been world T20 champions twice, a feat unmatched so far, and the key to their success has been the abundance of T20 specialists at their disposal. Their players have also felt more at home in T20Is than in ODIs and Tests, the two significant versions of the sport which the senior West Indian players haven’t been playing lately.

The 13-man squad named by the West Indies selectors features Gayle, Narine, Pollard, Badree, and the experienced Marlon Samuels as well, forming a highly formidable opponent for India. You look at the batting line-ups of the two teams, and West Indies are better. But Team India have the superior bowlers, namely Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, etc., who will be looking forward to the challenge of bowling to the big-hitting West Indian batsmen.

India have played just three T20Is this year, all of them at home against England back in January-February, while the West Indies have played seven, split into two series (against Pakistan and Afghanistan). Will this have an effect come Sunday? Probably not, but India will definitely have to adapt to the dynamics of T20 cricket from having played non-stop ODI cricket for the last five weeks. Their hosts, with a largely different squad, a different captain and one which is chock-a-block with players tailor-made for this format, might feel a lot more secure.

Following a pretty predictable five-ODI series, which was won 1-3 by India, we can expect a proper contest between the defending world T20 champions and the one-time winners of the world T20 championship.

Form guide

West Indies: WWWLW (from left to right, most recent result first)
India: WWLNRL

India vs West Indies head-to-head in T20

The Windies have faced India just seven times, with the first meeting coming way back in 2009, and they lead the Men in Blue in the head-to-head by 4-2. One T20I has ended in a no-result.

Likely playing XIs

Jason Mohammed had a poor ODI series with the bat and is likely to drop out of the West Indies XI for Sunday’s T20I against India. Evin Lewis, Rovman Powell and Kesrick Williams might retain their places.

WI’s probable XI: 1. Carlos Brathwaite (c), 2. Chris Gayle, 3. Evin Lewis, 4. Marlon Samuels, 5. Kieron Pollard, 6. Chadwick Walton (wk), 7. Rovman Powell, 8. Sunil Narine, 9. Ronsford Beaton, 10. Samuel Badree, and 11. Jerome Taylor/Kesrick Williams

India might make a few changes as well, with most of those coming in the bowling department. Bhuvneshwar Kumar will probably replace Umesh Yadav, while Ravichandran Ashwin might come in place of Kuldeep Yadav, given the number of left-handers in the West Indies’ batting ranks. Rishabh Pant may also play his second Twenty20 International, having played the third and final match against England in Bangalore earlier this year.

India’s probable playing XI for T20 against West Indies: 1. Virat Kohli (c), 2. Ajinkya Rahane, 3. Shikhar Dhawan, 4. MS Dhoni (wk), 5. Rishabh Pant, 6. Kedar Jadhav, 7. Hardik Pandya, 8. Ravindra Jadeja, 9. Ravichandran Ashwin/Kuldeep Yadav, 10. Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Umesh Yadav, and 11. Mohammed Shami




Prediction

West Indies have the greater depth in batting, a squad which has played a lot more T20 cricket in recent times and the players who are tailor-made to excel in this format. Therefore, they will start this match as favourites. India will have to bowl extremely well and the winner of the battle between West Indies batting and Indian bowling will probably win the match for their country. But cricket fans, neutral and those supporting these two teams, can expect a good T20 match, presuming we get a sporting pitch.

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