India face test of composure against upbeat West Indies

Match details
Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Stadium, Visakhapatnam
December 18, Wednesday; 13:30 IST

The main picture
The win over India on Sunday, by an emphatic margin of eight wickets, was West Indies’s fourth in a row in ODIs having whitewashed Afghanistan 3-0 in Lucknow last month. And this performance, perhaps, would have pleased the team management more than the three previous wins. And that’s not just because it came against India: West Indies, you could sense, knew what they were doing right from when captain Kieron Pollard won the toss and chose to field first. And, chasing down a stiff target (288) on a pitch not exactly conducive to stroke play, provided further reassurance that they now have the firepower in their batting line-up to hunt down such challenging totals. Though consistency is the big challenge for the West Indies, the swagger with which they chased down 288 augurs well for them going into the second T20I with India in a do-or-die situation.

For all of India’s dominance in one-day cricket, being 1-0 down in a three-match series is not strange to them. Earlier this year, against Australia in Australia, they were 1-0 down before going on to win the series 2-1; and at home in 2017, India were twice beaten in the first ODI of a three-match series, by New Zealand and Sri Lanka, and they ended up winning those two series, too. So, losing the first ODI against the West Indies is not so much a psychological blow but India need better performances from their fringe players—Deepak Chahar and Shivam Dube primarily—to level the series with a win in Visakhapatnam.

India’s brave decision to play only three specialist bowlers, to go with all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja as a bankable 10-overs bowler, backfired in Chennai and India must now address the glaring issue with the series on the line. They have been reluctant to play wristspinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal together, but given the lack of options in the squad, the team management might pair Chahal with Kuldeep. Shardul Thakur’s hit-the-deck style of bowling is an option too.

West Indies’s strong suit is their batting and will enjoy the more batting-friendly pitch in Visakhapatnam, where they tied with India in a high-scoring ODI between these two teams last year. The bowling, while not short on variety, has tended to leak runs on this tour, but the team management is unlikely to be critical of the collective effort of the bowling attack in the first ODI.

Wednesday’s second ODI has become a clash of West Indies’s swagger with India’s proven composure under pressure, but with the series on the line, execution remains the key for either team.

Visakhapatman pitch report and weather forecast

The pitch at the Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Stadium has generally been batting-friendly, with the last ODI played here producing an aggregate of 642 runs being scored by India and the West Indies, though the relative dryness of the surface tends to favour the spinners, too.

The weather forecast says that Wednesday will be clear and sunny, with the temperature hovering in the late-20s (degree Celsius).

India vs West Indies 2nd ODI playing 11

Predicted India playing 11 for 2nd ODI: 1 Virat Kohli (c), 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 KL Rahul, 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 Rishabh Pant, 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Deepak Chahar, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Kuldeep Yadav

Predicted West Indies playing 11 for 2nd ODI: 1 Kieron Pollard (c), 2 Sunil Ambris, 3 Shai Hope, 4 Roston Chase, 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Nicholas Pooran, 7 Jason Holder, 8 Sheldon Cottrell, 9 Hayden Walsh Jr, 10 Khary Pierre, 11 Alzarri Joseph

India vs West Indies 2nd ODI prediction

India’s usual dominance as a one-day side often puts the onus on their opposition to find a way to challenge Kohli’s men. West Indies, with their performance in the first ODI, have laid down the challenge to the home team. One-nil down, India’s priority is to get the balance of their playing XI right, which means bringing in a specialist bowler for either Dube or Kedar Jadhav. That, and their composure in a must-win situation, will be crucial in the all-important second ODI.

India vs West Indies 2nd ODI telecast channel

The second One-Day International between India and the West Indies will be aired on the Star Sports Network, while Hotstar will provide the live stream.