Its campaign in tatters after two consecutive defeats, India needs to regroup quickly as it goes into a must-win match against host West Indies in the cricket tri-series here on Friday.
The Champions Trophy winner has suddenly looked vulnerable as the young Indian players found it tough to come to terms with the challenging conditions.
As if the two-paced Caribbean wickets were not enough to trouble the Indians, injury to charismatic skipper M.S. Dhoni has only made the job tough for them.
Friday’s contest comes as a huge challenge and test for the leadership quality of Virat Kohli, who is being considered as a future captain of the country.
Kohli’s tactics during the big-defeat against Sri Lanka did not work and it will be interesting to see how he leads the young pack in the pressure match, where a defeat will virtually ensure its elimination.
The West Indies is best placed so far with nine points, courtesy two wins from as many matches while Sri Lanka is second with five points.
Both the teams have managed to win a bonus point.
A victory on Friday will keep India alive in the competition.
Its defeat would send the host into the final and from there, India’s chances to qualify for the final will depend on a lot of ifs and buts.
First and foremost, India would need a favour from the West Indies that the host beats Sri Lanka in its final league match on Sunday.
India will then have to beat the Asian neighbour on Tuesday in a certain number of overs to make it to the summit clash.
India’s victory on Friday will keep the tournament open as all three teams will have a chance to book a place in the title clash.
Considering the grim situation, India needs stroke-maker Shikhar Dhawan to yet again provide a solid opening along with Rohit Sharma, who is the only one so far from the side to score a half-century.
It’s crucial that the two batsmen click as India thrives on good starts.
India may leave out Mohammad Shami and bring back Bhuvneshwar Kumar. It is also unlikely that Ambati Rayudu will get his debut match in the crucial game.
For the West Indies, captain Dwayne Bravo is likely to come back to the side after missing the match against India with a groin strain.
Virat Kohli has been fined 20 per cent of his match fees and his team-mates 10 per cent for maintaining a slow over-rate in the match against Sri Lanka.
The teams (from):
India: Virat Kohli (capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ambati Rayudu, Murali Vijay, Mohammad Shami and R. Vinay Kumar.
West Indies: Dwayne Bravo (capt.), Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Johnson Charles, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, and Devon Smith.