Venue: Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Hyderabad
Date: Saturday, December 6, 2019
The West Indies are once again touring India just before the IPL auction as many of the top T20 players from the Carribean look to put themselves in the shop window during this tour. This match in Hyderabad is the first of three T20i matches that the two teams will play over the next week, with this to be followed by a three-match ODI series over the rest of the month of December.
This is an interesting series as both teams will be at close to full strength. While the T20 game has long been used by India to bring youngsters into the international cricketing arena, the fact that the T20 World Cup is just around the corner – late 2020 – means that both squads here are looking to see which of their players are going to stand up and be counted as thoughts of selection for that tournament begin in earnest.
The West Indies were most recently seen playing in a T20 series loss to Afghanistan, something that will have hurt the pride of the men from the Caribbean. India are in better form after they won their three-match series against Bangladesh in November by a 2-1 score after losing the first match and rallying to earn bragging rights on the subcontinent.
There have been four changes to the India squad from the one that did the damage against Bangladesh last month. Virat Kohli, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, and Mohammad Shami are all back in contention for selection with Rahul Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Krunal Pandya, and Shardul Thakur all dropping out of the squad. The other change was originally Shikhar Dhawan coming back into the team, but an injury means that Sanju Samson instead retains his spot. It is an altogether excellent lineup for the selectors to choose from.
The India team is basically at his best, with only the injuries to Dhawan and bowler Jasprit Bumrah as obvious players missing from the squad. Look for Kohli to come in at number three and blast the ball around as India tries to figure out its best batting lineup ahead of the World Cup.
This West Indies squad contains all the players that have been excelling in the Caribbean Premier League and forms a unit that should test India through all three matches in the series. Captain Kieron Pollard will be a key figure for the tourists, while Shai Hope and Alzarri Joseph are the casualties from the squad that was beaten by Afghanistan. Look for Fabian Allen and Danesh Ramdin to come in and give a spark to a team that lacked that little something extra in their last series outing.
We like the favoured Indians to win at BetXchange as their batting attack will simply be too much for a West Indies bowling front that is simply not up to scratch at this level of the game. A couple of bets we like more are for Rohit Sharma to lead the Indian batting at 2.50 and as such be named Man of the Match at 7.00.