By BD Narayankar
Bangalore: Sep 18, 2013
Smarting from their 55-run defeat in the second one-dayer, India A will look to get back to winning ways and seal the three-match unofficial ODI series against West Indies A when the two sides clash in the final 50-over game at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday.
The hosts started the series with a thumping 77-run win over the Caribbean side, mainly orchestrated by captain Yuvraj Singh‘s brutal 89-ball 123, but in the second game, the visitors bounced back with a morale-boosting 55-run victory to level the series 1-1.
The 25-year-old Jonathan Carter‘s impressive 132-ball 133 defused India’s bowling attack and helped Windies A post a challenging 279 for six, before bundling out the hosts for 224. The Indian batsmen failed to fire collectively as there wasn’t a single half-century in the innings.
But going into tomorrow’s game, India would again depend on their batting unit with the likes of Robin Uthappa, Mandeep Singh, Unmukt Chand, Yusuf Pathan and Kedar Jadhav expected to come good.
Yuvraj, who has been handed a lifeline to return to the ODI fold by being named the captain of the India ‘A’ side, would once again be the cynosure of all eyes and the dashing left-hander would looking to continue his run-riot.
Having scored a match-winning 123 in the opening game, Yuvraj top-scored with 40 (58 balls, 3×4, 1×6) in the second match, which the Indians lost.
Pathan, known for his savage hitting that he displayed in during his 32-ball unbeaten 70 in the first ODI, will also be keen to repeat his performance.
The Indian openers, however, have not made enough contributions to give India ‘A’ a rousing start so far in the tournament. But the team would expect both Uthappa and Chand to give their best when it matters the most.
The middle-order comprising Mandeep, Pathan, Jadhav and Naman Ojha would also look to make some significant contributions after having notched up good scores in the series opener.
The Indian think-tank may consider promoting Jadhav up the order as he has been the most consistent batsman, who has made opportunities count.
On the bowling front, India certainly look a concerned side with Jaydev Unadkat, Sumit Narwal, Rahul Sharma and Shabaz Nadeem not having done full justice to their talents.
And come tomorrow, they cannot afford to misfire in the decider especially with Carter, Kirk Edwards and Leon Johnson in good touch.
Local lad Vinay Kumar has, however, been an exception in the absence of experienced Irfan Pathan and Praveen Kumar. He has exploited the home conditions much better than the rest, bagging five wickets in the series so far.
Vinay will look forward to carry on his form into the next game and give India important breakthroughs early on.
On the other hand, West Indies would look to continue their winning momentum and bank on their batsmen heavily.
The likes of Nkruma Bonner, Kieran Powell, Edwards, Narsingh Deonaraine and Ashley Nurse have the potential to take on the Indian bowling attack.
The visitors would also be banking on all-rounder Andre Russel, who has a reputation of winning matches on his own.
The West Indies bowling is a touch stronger compared to the hosts with Miguel Cummins and Ronsford Beaten having pace to trouble the Indian batsmen with the new ball.
Pacer Miguel Cummins has impressed all with his figures of four for 31 in the last match.
They should also ponder using spinners Carter and Nikita Miller to keep the pressure at the other end. Both picked two wickets each in the last ODI.
The series is an opportunity for a number of young West Indian players to show their skills, especially with the senior team set to tour India next month.