Both sides might be in a dilemma with the potential return of Shikhar Dhawan and Kieron Pollard in their respective XIs
Since the start of the ODI series against South Africa, India have been talking about building a side for the 2023 World Cup. One of their pain areas in the last couple of years has been the lack of a wicket-taking seamer in the powerplay and middle overs. They changed their strategy in the third ODI against South Africa by picking a tall, hit-the-deck bowler in Prasidh Krishna, and continued with it in the West Indies series too.
The rewards are there to be seen. Hitting the short-of-a-good-length area, Prasidh picked up 2 for 29 in the first ODI and 4 for 12 in the second. One would think he has presented a strong enough case to be in the XI even when Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami return. In the batting department, Suryakumar Yadav seems to have made a middle-order spot his own. Now that India have won the series, they might consider trying out even more options in the third ODI.
West Indies, on the other hand, have been let down by their batting. Before the series, their captain Kieron Pollard underlined the importance of playing out full 50 overs but his side failed to do that in the first two ODIs. On paper, West Indies have a long batting line-up – Odean Smith came in at No. 9 in the last game – but their batters don’t bat deep. Can the likes of Shai Hope, Darren Bravo and Nicholas Pooran take the responsibility and step up?
West Indies might have lost the series, but they would like to avoid a whitewash. In more tangible terms, there are ten World Cup Super League points at stake, and West Indies are currently ninth on that table in terms of percentage points.
India WWLLL (last five completed ODIs, most recent first) West Indies LLLLW
In the spotlight
Since his last ODI hundred, Virat Kohli has made ten half-centuries in 20 innings in the format. However, in the last few weeks, the narrative has shifted from Kohli-not-getting-a-hundred to Kohli-needs-a-break. In the first ODI in this series, he played a strange four-ball knock where he seemed to be in a hurry. In the second, he was more measured but a loose shot outside off stump ended his stay on 18. On Friday, the question will once again be: will he get his 71st international hundred?
Among those who have scored at least 1000 ODI runs for West Indies, no one averages higher than Shai Hope‘s 51.13. He doesn’t have a great strike rate (74.70), but it’s his ability to play the anchor’s role that makes him a valuable asset in this West Indies line-up. He has an excellent record against spin too. With the team struggling to last 50 overs, West Indies will expect more from their opener. He wasn’t as tidy behind the stumps in the second ODI, so eyes will be on his wicketkeeping as well.
After the second ODI, Rohit Sharma had said Shikhar Dhawan would be back for the final match. That means either Suryakumar or Deepak Hooda will have to sit out; this, despite Suryakumar doing well in his limited ODI appearances, and Hooda providing India with the sixth bowling option. Therefore, it is also difficult to see Shreyas Iyer getting a game, even though he is out of isolation now after testing positive for Covid-19. In the bowling department, India could play Kuldeep Yadav.
Smith was impressive with both bat and ball in the second ODI. So if Pollard returns, West Indies will have a tough call to make. Can they retain Smith and leave out Bravo, who has had scores of 1, 18, 18, 0 and 2 in his last five innings?
West Indies (probable): 1 Shai Hope (wk), 2 Brandon King, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Shamarh Brooks, 5 Nicholas Pooran, 6 Kieron Pollard (capt), 7 Jason Holder, 8 Fabian Allen, 9 Akeal Hosein, 10 Alzarri Joseph, 11 Kemar Roach
Pitch and conditions
The pitches so far have helped both seamers and spinners, and it will not be a surprise if that’s the case on Friday as well. The temperature is expected to hover around mid to late 20 degrees Celsius for the majority of the match. There was no dew during the second ODI, and it could stay that way for the third as well.
Stats and trivia
Prasidh has an economy rate of 2.15 in the series.
Since 2020, Rahul has had an average of 67 and a strike rate of 109.23 in the middle order in ODIs.
West Indies have failed to last full 50 overs in the last seven ODIs where they batted first.
“I have been striving to get more consistent. When I started, I used to get excited and have too many emotions running through me. But over time, I have had my plans and I have been very clear on what I needed to work on. Prasidh Krishna on the areas he has improved on since his debut last year