PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – West Indies will focus on their execution of plans as they go in search of a series-levelling win against powerhouses India. But the passage of a strong tropical wave could ruin the crucial final One-Day International at Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad, tomorrow.
Weather authorities today forecast strong winds, heavy showers and thunderstorms between 10 am on Wednedsay and Thursday afternoon, along with the possibility of flash flooding, putting in danger the contest set to bowl off at 9:30 am (Eastern Caribbean time).
The three-match series has been dogged by rain which forced a reduction of overs during the West Indies run chase in last Sunday’s second ODI, as the hosts fell to a 59-run defeat under Duckworth-Lewis-Stern.
And heavy rain in Guyana last week also led to the abandonment of the opener at the National Stadium after just 13 overs.
Once the rain stays away, however, West Indies will target massive improvement in an attempt to break a wretched run that has seen them win just six of 21 ODIs this year.
And all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite believes the hosts are not far away from pulling together the complete performance and putting a win under their belts.
“I don’t think we’re doing that badly or as badly as the results show,” Brathwaite told the media today ahead of the game.
“I think we’re just missing a few key points or moments which could turn one or two losses into wins, and which would make us look a little better, give us a little momentum and then you can push to start to win series more consistently.”
He added: “I don’t think it’s [a lack of] belief per se because if you ask the guys in the dressing room if they believe we can win, I think they do believe we can win but the know-how and the execution of that belief is where we have been lacking, especially in key moments.
“But I don’t think it is a lack of belief, I don’t think it is a lack of passion and in most cases not even a lack of skill but we just haven’t been executing what we wanted to execute in key moments of the game and it’s hampered us for the majority of the World Cup and then in this last game.”
West Indies squandered the ideal opportunity to take the series lead, after being asked to chase a revised total of 270 off 46 overs.
They were cruising on 148 for three in the 28th over before suffering a dramatic middle and lower collapse and losing their last seven wickets for 62 runs.
Despite the defeat, Brathwaite said confidence was high that they could steal a share of the series, but the batting needed to improve considerably.
“[The mood] is good. Obviously we drew the last series against England at home as well and then going into the last game, I think it is just for us to get the batting right in both parts,” he pointed out.
“If we could divide the batting in half – we either get good starts and then throw it away at the back end or we don’t get good starts and then run it close because of a rearguard effort.
“I think the batting has been much improved from the T20 [series] especially from the overall batting performance in the World Cup as well but we didn’t close it off [in the last game].
“So it’s for the batting to get us into a position similar to the second game more often than not – hopefully that happens tomorrow as well – and for the lower half to close out the game.”
From the start of 2018 to the start of the World Cup, Shai Hope scored 1460 runs in 28 ODIs at an average of 66.36. More than half those runs came in just eight innings, while opening the batting. At the World Cup, where he batted mostly at No. 3, Hope had lukewarm returns – 274 runs at 34.25. After being dismissed for 5 in the second ODI, Hope will look forward to getting back among the runs.
India, on the other hand, will be aiming to finish the white-ball leg of the tour undefeated. As far as their search for the No. 4 batsman is concerned, it looks like Rishabh Pant has his captain’s backing for now. Though he didn’t quite convince during his 20 off 35 balls in the last match, Pant should once again slot in at No. 4.
Shikhar Dhawan is yet to strike form after his return from the hand injury that cut his World Cup short, but it’s far from a worry for the team management at this moment.
SQUADS: WEST INDIES – Jason Holder (captain), Fabian Allen, Carlos Brathwaite, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas.
INDIA – Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kedar Jadhav,
Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Navdeep Saini.