Old Trafford, Manchester
June 27, Thursday; 15:00 IST
Live on Star Sports, streaming on Hotstar
The main picture
We have reached a stage in the World Cup where every match becomes consequential in the race to finish in the top four. England’s loss to Australia means even the eighth-placed West Indies, who have only three points after six matches and can reach a maximum of nine points, have a chance to qualify for the semi-finals. With India playing West Indies, England, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka in their final four league matches, results against them could be decisive for teams vying for the fourth spot, presuming India win at least two of those.
West Indies’s World Cup campaign began in resounding fashion when they beat Pakistan by six wickets at Trent Bridge on May 31. Except against England, whom they lost to convincingly, they created opportunities to secure two points against Australia, Bangladesh and New Zealand but their gung-ho style of batting and the hunger to dominate opposition bowling attacks cost them each of those closely-fought matches.
The match against New Zealand, while chasing 292 for victory, is a case in point. Chris Gayle and Shimron Hetmyer had brought the required run-rate to under six an over after the early pyrotechnics. West Indies were 142 for two after 22 overs and in total control of the chase. They then contrived to ship five for 22 in the space of five overs to be reduced to 164 for seven before Carlos Brathwaite’s 82-ball 101 led them to within five runs of a famous victory.
India’s bowling attack is arguably better than New Zealand’s, so the battle between the Indian bowlers and the West Indies batsmen is likely to be decisive on Thursday. Shai Hope is a key component of a West Indies batting line-up which has six batsmen who build and consolidate their innings by trying to hit sixes and fours. The short square boundaries at Old Trafford will encourage the fearless West Indies batsmen to play their natural game and not hold back, but after Brathwaite provided the blueprint on how to construct an ODI innings, you expect the likes of Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran and even Gayle to bat according to demands of the match situation.
Three of India’s four wins in the tournament have come on the back of quality bowling performances, with the 11-run win over Afghanistan standing out from the rest. Jasprit Bumrah delivered under pressure after being slightly off the boil against Pakistan and Mohammed Shami provided evidence of his completeness as a bowler by taking a wicket with the new ball and then capping off his day with a hat-trick to seal the win for India. The Indian bowlers will relish the challenge of bowling to the West Indies batsmen, with the IPL connect between the players of the two teams increasingly hard to ignore these days.
Weather forecast and pitch report
The forecast is for sunshine on Thursday, with the temperature hovering in the early-20s (degree Celsius) throughout.
The Old Trafford pitch is likely to remain good for batting as it has been in the two matches played here so far.
India vs West Indies Dream11 Prediction
Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Hardik Pandya, Nicholas Pooran, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell, Yuzvendra Chahal
India vs West Indies predicted playing 11
West Indies playing 11: 1 Jason Holder (c), 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Shai Hope (wk), 4 Evin Lewis/Darren Bravo, 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Nicholas Pooran, 7 Carlos Brathwaite, 8 Ashley Nurse, 9 Kemar Roach, 10 Sheldon Cottrell, 11 Oshane Thomas
India playing 11: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 KL Rahul, 4 MS Dhoni (wk), 5 Kedar Jadhav, 6 Hardik Pandya, 7 Vijay Shankar/Rishabh Pant/Dinesh Karthik, 8 Mohammed Shami, 9 Yuzvendra Chahal, 10 Jasprit Bumrah, 11 Kuldeep Yadav
West Indies have the ammunition in their bowling attack and the flair in their batting line-up to disconcert India. To get a favourable result against India, though, and keep their semi-final hopes alive, Jason Holder and co. need to play good cricket for sustained periods of Thursday’s match.