On a roll after its Champions Trophy triumph, the Indian cricket team would aim to continue the unbeaten run when it takes on the West Indies, who would be eyeing revenge, in the tri-nation ODI series, here on Sunday.
The Indians got barely a few days to rejoice after their Champions Trophy win before boarding the flight to the Caribbean and fatigue could be the only worry for a side which looks in unbeatable form.
The West Indians, on the other hand, would be eager to extract revenge for the loss to India in a Champions Trophy group match.
The hosts have in fact, started impressively in the ongoing series beating Sri Lanka in the lung-opener. The biggest positive from the game was the return to form of Chris Gayle, who was slightly off-colour in the Champions Trophy.
Gayle’s marauding hundred, which included seven sixes and nine fours, helped the West Indies overhaul a 209-run target in 37.5 overs. He would without doubt be the backbone of the West Indian batting against India as well. Both the sides are well aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses as their key players have played in the Indian Premier League either with or against each other.
Interestingly, rival captains Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo are Chennai Super Kings teammates while Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle turned out for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
A look at the teams will, however, give India the edge. Its batting looks awesome. Rohit Sharma, as an opener, proved to be a success in the Champions Trophy.
His partner Shikhar Dhawan is also in sublime form and was the star of India’s title-winning campaign.
And it is unlikely that India will disturb the winning combination that saw Dinesh Karthik promoted to No. 4 and Dhoni up at No. 5 ahead of Suresh Raina.
On the other hand, in spite of the enormous potential, the West Indies remains a fickle side. But there is no denying that West Indies has the experience and the talent to give the Indians a run for money.
Gayle, Johnson Charles, Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels can see off India’s new ball bowlers — the troika of Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma — but will have to apply themselves.
West Indies will surely test the Indian batsmen with both speed and spin.
The teams (from): India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik, Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Amit Mishra, Mohammed Shami, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma, Murali Vijay, Vinay Kumar and Umesh Yadav.
West Indies: Dwayne Bravo (capt), Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard, Devon Smith, Darren Sammy, Denesh Ramdin, Sunil Narine, Tino Best, Ravi Rampaul and Kemar Roach.