New Zealand’s loss to Pakistan has further opened up the top-four race in the 2019 ICC World Cup. West Indies still have an outside chance but need to defeat India in their next match. This match #34 of the World Cup will be played at Manchester on Thursday.
West Indies have just three points from six games. Winning all the remaining three will give them the rarest of the rare chance to sneak in. India, on the other hand, are the only unbeaten side and can leap into second with a win.
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A breath-taking rear-guard century from Carlos Brathwaite was not enough for Windies to win against New Zealand. Inconsistent top-order remains their biggest concern. Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer are expected to play longer innings.
The absence of Andre Russell will be felt, but the lack of a proper spinner is more telling. West Indies will hope that they can bounce out the Indian batsmen. Sheldon Cottrell has enjoyed a great World Cup 2019 and can extend India’s vulnerability against left-arm pacers.
The close win against Afghanistan continued India’s unbeaten run in the tournament. However, the poor returns of the middle-order is a big worry. If Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have a combined poor day, then India are more likely to be found out.
The injury to Bhuvneshwar Kumar has opened the doors for Mohammad Shami. Although Bhuvi has improved his fitness, Shami could continue. The length of the tail could open the doors for Ravindra Jadeja’s recall.
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Virat Kohli is already the highest run-scorer in H2H ODIs. His last six innings against West Indies read: 111*, 140, 157*, 107, 16 & 33*. The Indian captain would love to extend that.
Chris Gayle needs 59 runs to become West Indies’ all-time ODI highest run-getter. The ‘Universe Boss’ playing his last World Cup will look to make every game count.
Shimron Hetmyer has been guilty of wasting starts. He has two back-to-back fifties coming into this match and will hope to make it big this time.
Evin Lewis’ fitness remains West Indies’ only concern.
West Indies: 1 Chris Gayle 2 Sunil Ambris 3 Shai Hope (WK) 4 Nicholas Pooran 5 Shimron Hetmyer 6 Jason Holder (C) 7 Carlos Brathwaite 8 Ashley Nurse 9 Kemar Roach 10 Sheldon Cottrell 11 Oshane Thomas
India are likely to bring Ravindra Jadeja to strengthen their batting.
India: 1 Rohit Sharma 2 KL Rahul 3 Virat Kohli (C) 4 Vijay Shankar 5 MS Dhoni 6 Kedar Jadhav 7 Hardik Pandya 8 Ravindra Jadeja 9 Yuzvendra Chahal 10 Mohammad Shami 11 Jasprit Bumrah
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