West Indies Look For Top-order Runs To Keep Series Alive

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - West Indies look for top-order runs to keep series alive. West Indies slipped down to eighth in the Super League standings after the loss in the ODI series opener.

West Indies Look For Top-order Runs To Keep Series AliveWest Indies slipped down to eighth in the Super League standings after the loss in the ODI series opener.

“Same old for us – not being able to bat 50 overs. Have to take stock of that. We've got to dig deep, get better in terms of technique, myself included,” said Kieron Pollard in the post-match presentation after the West Indies lost the first ODI in Ahmedabad. West Indies' inability to bat for 50 overs has become a recurring theme and that can be further illustrated by the point that they have been bowled out in nine of the 13 ODIs since the start of 2021.

The Caribbean side has also lost 44 wickets to spin in those 13 games at 21.86 per dismissal, scoring at only 4.07 per over against the slower bowlers. It is an indicator that the batters have to improve their strike rotation while facing the tweakers. Ahead of the crucial second ODI, the think-tank would want to hammer down some of the nuts and bolts in order to narrow down the worry lines in the batting unit.

Shai Hope, who averages over 50 in the ODI format, will be the man in focus. The fulcrum of West Indies' ODI line-up had a rather quiet series against Ireland (barring one fifty) and couldn't make an impression in the first game in Ahmedabad. So he would be keen to find his groove and set the platform at the top of the order. The experienced Darren Bravo too needs to amp up his game. The West Indies have the required batting firepower lower down the order – Nicholas Pooran, Pollard, Jason Holder and Fabien Allen – to turbo-charge the batting engine. Just that they need a launchpad from the top order.

The home team, meanwhile, would be pleased especially with the effort of their bowlers. Mohammed Siraj bowled incisively with the new ball. His pace colleague – Prasidh Krishna – looked like a threat when he banged it on a shorter length and extracted some lift. Washington Sundar also showcased his skills with a ball that was relatively new while Yuzvendra Chahal hoodwinked one West Indies batter after another with his flight and guile.

To make it an even better day for India, Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan gave the hosts a breezy start at the top of the order. The think-tank will hope that the openers will continue to play with a free-spirited approach. Over a period of time, one of the bugbears for India in the 50-over format has been their middle order. In that context, it would help India if the middle order is put under some pressure to see how they respond to such a situation.

When: Wednesday, February 9, 2022, 1.30 PM local time

Where: Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad

What to expect: The track was a tad two-paced for the first game and on the slower side. For the second match, the characteristics of the track could again come down to the nature of the soil – either red soil or black soil. The dew could also play a part.

Team News:

India: Despite a couple of reinforcements, India may largely remain unchanged. KL Rahul is back in the mix after being unavailable for the opening ODI. He is set to replace Ishan Kishan at the top of the order. Incidentally, Rahul has found more success in the middle order in ODIs where he averages over 50.

Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer also had a light training session, having recovered from Covid-19. But the coaching staff may look to ease them back into action.

Possible XI: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal and Prasidh Krishna.

West Indies: The West Indies camp could give another opportunity to the 11 players who took the field for the first match. Even though the explosive all-rounder Odean Smith is an option. Among the batters, the West Indies also have Nkrumah Bonner in the reserves.

Possible XI: Brandon King, Shai Hope (wk), Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Nicholas Pooran, Kieron Pollard (c), Jason Holder, Fabien Allen, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph and Kemar Roach

What they said:

“It is not too different, I have been batting at all the positions, so wherever the team management decides and wants me to bat, I am really flexible to bat at any position. Yes, I have batted at No.3, 4 and 5, but happy with the way things are going right now,” Suryakumar Yadav, on batting at different positions

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