Buoyed by their stunning defence of 189 in the fourth One-Day International at Sabina Park, Windies will be confident of being competitive against India in the fifth and final match in Kingston on Thursday (July 6).
The hosts, trailing 2-0 before the previous game in North Sound, rode on Jason Holder’s 5 for 27 to script an unexpected 11-run win and retain the chance to draw the series.
After the series-opener was washed out, India scored two convincing victories over the hosts, defeating them by margins of 105 runs and 93 runs respectively. This allowed them the liberty to make a few changes to the playing XI.
However, Dinesh Karthik and Ravindra Jadeja — who came in for Yuvraj Singh and R Ashwin respectively – didn’t exactly stand out on their return. Mohammed Shami, playing in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, bowled with control in his first ODI in more than two years, even though he failed to pick up wickets in the low-scoring game.
It is unlikely that India will panic and return to the original XI in a bid to close out the series. As Sanjay Bangar, the batting coach, pointed out, the aim will be to bat with more application and commonsense in delicate positions. “One of our plans definitely is not to lose too many wickets at close intervals,” Bangar said after the loss on Sunday. “That’s something we try to do – when a wicket falls, we try to rebuild.”
Should he get a chance to bat, all eyes will be trained on MS Dhoni, who played uncharacteristically slowly for his half-century in the previous game. Dhoni had taken the chase deep, as is his wont, but when he fell to the last delivery of the penultimate over, he had left India with too much to get. He has been in decent form but critics have been up in arms over his failure to close out the game after taking it to the death. He will look to put those doubts to rest.
Windies will be wary of getting carried away by the rare win, as well the potential backlash Virat Kohli and his team might unleash. Their batting has looked a tad fragile throughout the series, and it wasn’t far too different in the previous game, although their effort was enough to edge India out on a slowing pitch.
The batsmen in the top and middle order all got starts but no one was able to get past 35. But it is likely that Windies will make any changes to its winning combination.
The sides last played an ODI at this venue in 2013, when the hosts managed to sneak home by one run. The Windies side that is playing now is virtually unrecognisable from the one that won that game, but it will look to draw inspiration from that result and channel some of the resulting momentum into the lone T20I to follow.
Windies: Jason Holder (capt), Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope (wk), Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Kieran Powell, Rovman Powell.
India: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Umesh Yadav.