West Indies eye strong start in favourite format

Match details

Eden Gardens, Kolkata
November 4, Sunday; 19:00 IST
Live on Star Sports, streaming on Hotstar

The main picture

West Indies have a good recent record in T20Is against India, happy memories of Eden Gardens, the personnel suited for the format, and a few players with substantial IPL experience, to feel confident of upstaging India in their own backyard in the three-match T20I series starting Sunday.

Despite losing the Test and ODI series convincingly, the markedly different squad for the T20Is means the West Indies will not be suffering from a hangover or the bruising of some big-margin defeats in the first two legs of the tour. Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Sherfane Rutherford, and Kieron Pollard form the fulcrum of the West Indies batting line-up, which goes deep thanks to the presence of captain Carlos Brathwaite, Rovman Powell, among others.

The West Indies bowling attack, which is likely to include Oshane Thomas and Obed McCoy (who were good in patches during the ODI series), lacks international experience, though the experience from and success in CPL should stand them in good stead against an organised Indian batting line-up.

India’s batting line-up is probably not as devastating as the West Indies’, but the home team, at least on paper, have quality and experience in the bowling department, led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. Bhuvneshwar hasn’t been his usual, incisive self since coming back into the team, but India will expect him to resurrect his bowling as the spearhead of the attack. Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal remain India’s first-choice spinners, who face a massive challenge against the kind of batsmen who don’t have to be encouraged to play the big shots.

Relaid in 2016, the Eden Gardens pitch offers even pace and bounce, elements which are likely to provide excitement for the spectators and those tuning in from home at primetime on Sunday.

Eden Gardens pitch report and weather forecast

Since being relaid, the pitch at the Eden Gardens has become a vastly better batting surface thanks to the even pace and bounce, and the seamers have enjoyed the zip off the surface. Come Sunday, the conditions are likely to be perfect for T20 cricket.

The forecast says that Sunday evening will be clear with a temperature of 22 degree Celsius but be humid.

1st T20: India vs West Indies playing 11

Possible India playing 11: 1 Rohit Sharma (c), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Lokesh Rahul, 4 Shreyas Iyer/Manish Pandey, 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Krunal Pandya/Washington Sundar, 7 Dinesh Karthik, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Jasprit Bumrah, 10 Kuldeep Yadav, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

Possible West Indies playing XI: 1 Carlos Brathwaite (c), 2 Sherfane Rutherford, 3 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 4 Kieron Pollard, 5 Darren Bravo, 6 Shimron Hetmyer, 7 Keemo Paul/Nicholas Pooran, 8 Rovman Powell, 9 Fabian Allen, 10 Obed McCoy, 11 Oshane Thomas

Match prediction

West Indies have batsmen capable of changing the course of a match quickly, while India have the bowling attack to stymie the Windies batsmen and even confound them with the wristspin of Kuldeep Yadav. The intensity will be high and the team who handle pressure better are likely to emerge victorious.

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