With the T20 World Cup later this year, every match and series is an opportunity to finetune preparations
India outclassed West Indies in each of the three ODIs, but the T20I series is expected to be more competitive, given that the shortest format is arguably the one West Indies are at their strongest in. However, while West Indies did have a stirring 3-2 win against England in their most recent T20I outing, it bears remembering that India are right now on a six-match winning streak in the format. It began in the T20 World Cup, with wins against Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia, and if those can be discounted as coming against relatively weaker teams, India also blanked New Zealand 3-0 at home after the World Cup.
Last five completed T20Is; most recent first
West Indies WLWLW
In the spotlight
Rishabh Pant has curiously underwhelming T20I numbers, with a strike rate of only 122.87. That is more to do perhaps with a lack of role clarity in the set-up. Now, he’s been installed as the vice-captain to Rohit for this series, and will be part of the leadership group. That should give him the freedom to define his own role, and play in the manner that he is most comfortable with. Elevation to the vice-captaincy also comes with the intangible greater security of a spot in the XI, which could free him up mentally.
If Kishan is locked in as Rohit’s opening partner, it still leaves the question of numbers five and six for India. Suryakumar Yadav should get one of those spots. The other depends on whether the team wants the insurance of a sixth bowling option, in which case there’s Venkatesh and Deepak Hooda to choose from. Or they might want someone like Shreyas Iyer, who could offer more with the bat.
India (possible) 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Ishan Kishan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Rishabh Pant (wk), 5 Suryakumar Yadav, 6 Shreyas Iyer, 7 Harshal Patel, 8 Kuldeep Yadav, 9 Mohammed Siraj, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Avesh Khan
West Indies (possible) 1 Kyle Mayers, 2 Brandon King, 3 Nicholas Pooran (wk), 4 Kieron Pollard (capt), 5 Rovman Powell, 6 Jason Holder, 7 Romario Shepherd, 8 Fabian Allen, 9 Odean Smith, 10 Akeal Hosein, 11 Sheldon Cottrell
Pitch and conditions
It’s expected to be a pitch with good pace, bounce and carry. However, the dew factor could be significant. There was heavy dew on the outfield two days out from the game, and the eve of the match had a very foggy morning. That makes the toss crucial.
Stats and trivia
- India and West Indies have played 17 T20Is so far, of which India have won ten and West Indies six.
- Only 30 runs separate Kohli (3227) and Rohit (3197) on the overall runs tally in T20Is, with Kohli in second place right now and Rohit third. They could both overtake Martin Guptill, who has the most T20I runs in the world with 3299, in this series.
This preview was updated at 3.00pm GMT with Kieron Pollard’s fitness status.
Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo