India is backing an out of form Yuvraj Singh, but the pressure on him is increasing with repeated failures.
Dropped catches, dew and some timely knocks by the West Indies in Vizag has ensured that the 3rd ODI will decide the winner in Kanpur. With the series tied 1-1, the men from the Caribbean have one chance of making something out of this hopeless tour so far.
In Kanpur, Dwayne Bravo's boys will want to prove they came to India with an intent to win. Darren Sammy did exactly that in Sunday's ODI, playing an innings which showed that as a batsman, he’s not all about mindless hitting.
Sammy was helped by the inexperience in Indian pace attack when the yorkers became non-existent. Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohit Sharma dished out full tosses which Sammy made full use of, hitting them over the leg side.
MS Dhoni said after the game that dew made the conditions ‘unfair’ for them. Attempted yorkers ending up as waist high full tosses might be attributed to the dew on the ground, but justifying dropped catches would be pushing it.
India’s problems in Vizag weren’t just limited to bowling and fielding, and had the two known saviours of Indian cricket, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni not been their usual self – one almost scoring a hundred, the other providing a late burst – India wouldn’t have managed 280-odd on the board.
Yuvraj Singh’s troubles against spin were exploited by the West Indies as Sunil Narine and Veerasammy Permaul troubled him, frustrating him to play a loose shot against Sammy. Suresh Raina too continued to disappoint. Ravindra Jadeja's bat too has been quiet for some time now.
Ravi Rampaul finished with 4/60 in Vizag and Sunil Narine kept things tight to keep India under 300. Will they manage to repeat their solid performances in the decider?
Players to watch out for
“Once he gets a few runs, you’ll see a different Yuvraj Singh.” – MS Dhoni.
It’s clear that this team is ready to back Yuvraj despite his scores in last 6 innings reading – 28, 16*, 12, 0, 0, 7. Since his 77 not out against Australia in the T20 at Rajkot, runs have eluded Yuvraj Singh.Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine in his second spell has not given away an inch, if not taken heaps of wickets. Along with Ravi Rampaul, Narine poses the biggest threat to the star studded Indian batting line-up. Rampaul has been quick in the matches so far, hurrying onto batsmen who’ve been taken almost by surprise by the pace.
At Vizag, Narine made an even more dramatic comeback. In his first 5 overs, he gave away 31, with Kohli missing few, but hitting most of them. In his last 5, he broke all momentum which India planned to gain in the powerplay. Dhoni and Jadeja failed to pick his variations and he gave away just 8 runs. India’s top order may feel at ease against Narine, but when it comes to the middle and lower order, he’s still capable of giving them nightmares.
After a 4-year gap, Kanpur’s Green Park will finally host an international match. It is a day start for the 3rd ODI, despite the floodlights being present at the stadium.
Despite late night dew not a worry for both the teams, they may have to deal with overnight dew in northern part of India at this time of the year. A high-scoring game looks a remote possibility, as the highest score on this ground so far has been 260. An early morning start also bodes well for the pacers in the first innings.
In the 12 matches played at the ground so far, the team chasing has won 7 times, while the a total has been defended on 5 occasions. India have lost only 3 matches here out of the 11 they’ve played so far.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami
West Indies: Kieran Powell, Johnson Charles, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy, Ravi Rampaul, Jason Hold9er, Sunil Narine, Veerasammy Permaul
Start time: 9:00 am IST (3:30 pm GMT)