Spotlight on misfiring bowling attacks with series on the line

Match details
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
December 11, Wednesday; 19:00 IST

The main picture

Bat has dominated the ball in the first two matches of the series, and the usually high-scoring, batting-friendly venue for the third and deciding Twenty20 International promises to maintain that trend. Sloppy fielding and indisiciplined bowling have contributed to the series being 1-1 ahead of tomorrow’s match, but the quality of batsmanship has far outweighed the sloppiness in the other two departments.

We often talk about scoreboard pressure being a barrier for teams trying to chase down substantial targets, but this series has laid bare the importance of taking wickets for teams trying to defend a score. Teams chasing, perhaps surprisingly, have lost fewer wickets (six in the two matches combined) than teams batting first (12 in the two matches combined), and, unless India or the West Indies find a way past this anomaly, we could once again see the chasing team win at the Wankhede Stadium and pocket the series.

The coin toss, too, assumes significance again, for both teams have preferred chasing. In doing so, India and the West Indies have been able to put pressure on the weak link (the bowling) in the second half of the match, when dew has tended to negate the bowlers’ skill set. While West Indies appear likely to stick with their bowling attack from the second T20I, India might opt for the extra pace of Mohammed Shami in place of either Deepak Chahar or Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

From the fans’s point of view, you couldn’t have picked a better setting for the series decider. With the batting line-ups in red-hot form and the bowlers under pressure, expect to be entertained.

Wankhede Stadium pitch report and weather forecast

West Indies return to the scene where they knocked India out in the semi-final of the 2016 T20 World Cup, also while chasing. Lendl Simmons struck a half-century in that semi-final and while Andre Russell, Chris Gayle, to name a couple of players, are missing from the current squad, West Indies would not have forgotten that euphoric April night.

They chased down 193 against India to progress to the final and it was another reminder that the Wankhede Stadium pitch is arguably the best in the country for batting. With true pace and bounce, batsmen can play their shots without restraint and even changes in pace don’t quite offer the kind of purchase bowlers are almost guaranteed from most other pitches. Expect the pitch for the third T20I tomorrow to favour the batsmen again.

The weather forecast says that Wednesday evening will be clear with the temperature hovering in the mid-20s (degree Celsius), while the air quality is said to be hazardous.

India vs West Indies 3rd T20 predicted playing 11

Possible India playing 11: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 KL Rahul, 4 Shreyas Iyer/Manish Pandey, 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Shivam Dube, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Washington Sundar, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

Possible West Indies playing 11: 1 Kieron Pollard (c), 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Lendl Simmons, 4 Brandon King, 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Nicholas Pooran, 7 Jason Holder, 8 Sheldon Cottrell, 9 Kesrick Williams, 10 Hayden Walsh Jr, 11 Khary Pierre

India vs West Indies 3rd T20 match prediction

Going into the deciding third T20I of a bat-dominated series, the onus is on the bowlers to find ways to take wickets, which is the only they will stifle the batsmen, who are in red-hot form. Also, with the Wankhede Stadium being a venue where the conditions—fast outfield, relatively small boundary and a true pitch—favour the batsmen, the spotlight is almost exclusively on the bowlers to make the difference. With all that said, though, it could also turn out to be a shootout between two in-form batting line-ups.

India vs West Indies 3rd T20 telecast channel

The third T20 International between India and the West Indies will be aired on the Star Sports Network, while Hotstar will provide the live stream.