Predicting India's clash with West Indies at the Cricket World Cup
As India and West Indies head into Old Trafford for their clash, there's a somewhat similar feeling in both camps.
Currently, both teams are at a low ebb. India just managed to beat Afghanistan. Whereas West Indies lost to Bangladesh and then suffered a heartbreaking defeat to New Zealand.
India's batting woes
Absence of Shikhar Dhawan has left Rohit Sharma in a fix. Shikhar used to smash quick boundaries in the beginning by chasing outside-the-off delivery and pulling short pitch balls giving Rohit time to settle.
Once Rohit reaches 25, he becomes a run machine. Most of the famous victories have come where Rohit is the architect. KL Rahul is tentative, which is affecting the run rate in power play and it may cost Rohit's wicket.
Besides Virat Kohli, Rohit and Pandya, no Indian batsmen pull or cut the back of length delivery.
So West Indian bowlers like Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas and Kemar Roach can contain Indian batsmen.
India will score a sub-280 score, unless Rohit or Kohli hit a century. If they fail to score, then India may score sub-250 ensuring a loss. India's middle-order is the weak link. The same was exposed by Afghanistan. So it is time to effect some changes.
Windies' batting to be countered by India's bowling
West Indies' batting is more brittle and they are hoping for maverick stroke play of Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder or Carlos Braithwaite. Somehow, in previous matches only one of them scored and others failed leading to the loss.
Indian bowling is at its best. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami can topple the top order and win the game. In death overs, Bumrah's yorkers are a treat to watch. In the middle overs, however, Indian spinners are effective only if one tries to accelerate. Against Afghanistan they failed to take even one wicket. Bumrah had to be brought back to take wickets.
Manchester is a batting wicket. In two matches, 300+ score has been posted each time. India scored 336 against Pakistan and England made 397 against Afghanistan.
Hopefully, Rohit and Kohli will score. If they don't India will be in big trouble. I suggest that Rishabh Pant should open.He can clear 30 yards easily and takes the pressure off Rohit. Pandya is bowling decently and that means India does not need Vijay Shankar. Rahul will bat at four to strengthen the middle order. Kedar Jadhav is still handy as his half century was the factor in putting up a decent total against Afghanistan.
Gayle storm is still not seen and tomorrow each Indian will be hoping that today is not that day.
Manchester will be painted blue by the spirited Indian fans. The currant of West Indies will be dwarfed by the Shankh, Sudhir and Bharat Army anticipating a win by India, who hold the advantage, 3-2.
The Indian advance can be halted by the awaited avalanche of Gayle and Hetmyer and ably supported by back of length short bowling by Cottrel and company.