India eyes T20I series win over Windies as perfect 'Diwali' gift

On the match day, all roads will lead to the superb venue, which brings back (men's) international cricket to the city after 24 years.

With just two matches left before the T20I series in Australia, India will try to make every opportunity count and travel Down Under with a morale-boosting clean sweep over the Windies.   -  AP

After two disappointing outings in the last two one-dayers, Windies gave a good fight in the first T20 International at the Eden Gardens and would be keen to raise its game to stop India from sealing the three-match series at the new Ekana Stadium, here, on Tuesday.

Two matches within three days is a sure-shot recipe to drain the players. The tight schedule forced the members of both sides to resist their temptation of having a look at the newest international venue in the country on Monday.

On the match day, all roads will lead to the superb venue, which brings back (men's) international cricket to the city after 24 years. The cricket starved public will be a source of strength for the home side, which is as foreign to the ground as the visiting team.

READ: Lucknow's Ekana Stadium to become India's 52nd cricketing venue

One may expect the batsmen to get used to the pitch and environs of the stadium before swinging their bats for quick runs. An insider's claim about the possibility of the pitch producing a modest total makes one anticipate another low-scoring affair.

For India, the recovery led by Dinesh Karthik and debutant Krunal Pandya with a useful unbroken 27-run partnership at the Eden came as a sigh of relief. It was a welcome development as well. Nevertheless, the area of improvement will be the top order batting.

During this phase of experimentation, the team will not lose its sleep over a rare off day by its leading batsmen, including captain Rohit Sharma. They need to be a little more circumspect in their approach.

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In the bowling department, India was exceptional. Except for some odd overs which cost runs in double digits, the bowlers generally bowled in good areas and struck frequently to deny West Indies a chance of recovery.

Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav again shone at his favourite venue and Pandya was parsimonious at the right stage to build immense pressure on the tourist. When they bowled in tandem, they looked in command of the situation.

The three pacers, especially Khaleel Ahmed and Jasprit Bumrah, displayed their skill to test the West Indians, thoroughly. Despite the win in the first match, it may not be a surprise if India makes some changes to its playing XI.

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Windies batsmen will also focus on realising its potential which made the team World champion in the shortest format two years ago. Names like Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Kieron Pollard, Darren Bravo and Carlos Brathwaite inspire confidence and the Caribbeans will fine-tune their game to come good.

Windies has the ammunition, a fine combination of pace and spin, to not only check India's run flow, but also make dents in the home team's batting line-up. The way Brathwaite and Oshane Thomas dealt blows in Kolkata and motivated the rest of their colleagues to solidly defend a low aggregate would compel India to take note and find ways to meet the challenge.

With just two matches left before the T20I series in Australia, India will try to make every opportunity count and travel Down Under with a morale-boosting clean sweep over the Windies.

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The touring party, on the other hand, will be interested to spoil the host's Diwali celebrations and turn the Chennai match into the decider.

Squads:

India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shikhar Dhawan, K.L. Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Khaleel Ahmed, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shahbaz Nadeem and Umesh Yadav.

Windies: Carlos Brathwaite (c), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre,Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Andre Russell, Sherfane Rutherford, Oshane Thomas and Shai Hope.

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