After a one-sided test series, the focus shifts to the One-Day Internationals. India just wrapped up the two-match test series 1-0 against the West Indies, with the last day's play of the 2nd test match cut short due to bad weather, causing India to miss out on some crucial World Test Championship points. But now, it's time to put the test matches behind us and look forward to the ODI series.
The three-match ODI series kicks off on July 27, 2023. All eyes will be on the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, where the first match will begin at 09:30 AM local time. It's India versus the West Indies, and the excitement is building up.
A look at recent performance
Analysing the recent performance of both teams serves as a vital indicator of their current form and momentum. The West Indies have struggled in their last five matches, with one win and one tie amid a string of losses. Meanwhile, India enjoys a rich vein of form, winning their last three fixtures following two consecutive losses.
Current form and historical precedent
India is the heavy favourite, while the West Indies grapple with poor form. The echoes of India's triumphant tour to the Caribbean in 2022 resonate even today. That tour witnessed a three-match ODI sweep, led valiantly by captain Shikhar Dhawan.
The winning streak included a nail-biting three-run win in the first ODI, followed by a two-wicket triumph in the second, before sealing the series with a resounding 119-run victory. Shubman Gill bagged the Man of the Series title with an aggregate of 205 runs. Yuzvendra Chahal and Shardul Thakur also emerged as the linchpins of India's bowling attack.
Players to watch: Key players for upcoming clash
Shai Hope, the West Indies skipper, is undoubtedly a player to watch in the upcoming series against India. With an impressive average of 46 against India, including three memorable centuries, Hope has proven a formidable adversary for the Indian bowling lineup.
The current year has seen Hope in scintillating form, racking up 521 runs across 11 innings at a stunning average of 65. Demonstrating his aggressive yet calculated approach, his strike rate hovers near 99 this year, underlining his ability to balance run accumulation with scoring speed. This impressive run includes two centuries and two half-centuries, showing his consistency and knack for converting starts into significant scores.
Given this track record and his current form, Shai Hope is poised to be a crucial player in the ODI series.
Beyond Hope, West Indies players like Kyle Mayers, Johnson Charles, Shimron Hetmyer, and R Powell, who have all previously faced Indian bowlers such as Ashwin and Jadeja in the IPL, will be eager to demonstrate their worth after West Indies fails to qualify for the 2023 World Cup.
Top online betting platforms in India are buzzing with the sentiment that Ravichandran Ashwin, the masterful off-spinner, is expected to extend his stellar form into the white-ball format. Ashwin's recent feats in the two-test series, where he secured 15 wickets at a splendid average of 15, underscore his efficacy and dominance on the West Indies pitches. This places him squarely in the spotlight for the upcoming ODI, with many pundits and online betting platforms foreseeing his ability to change the game's course in India's favour, much like his game-turning performance in the first test.
Alongside Ashwin, the iconic Virat Kohli is another Indian player expected to make headlines. Having recently scored his 75th international century, Kohli has regained his groove. His last twelve ODI innings yielded 554 runs, sustaining an average of 50.
Lastly, Shubman Gill, the Man of the Series during India's last tour to the West Indies and the highest run-scorer in the recent IPL, is a favoured player among fans. His staggering 1198 runs across the past 20 innings, at an average of 74, predict an exciting performance on the horizon.
Shifting our focus towards team dynamics, Shai Hope leads the Caribbean side, benefitting from the expertise of seasoned campaigner Daren Sammy. Contrastingly, India, positioned third on the ICC ODI team ranking, is leagues ahead of the West Indies, who currently sit at the tenth spot.
Hope's ODI record is commendable, with over 100 matches under his belt, contributing more than 4500 runs with an impressive batting average surpassing 49. On the opposing end, Rohit Sharma's remarkable performance in the white ball formats is unquestionable. With a stellar tally of more than 9800 runs in over 200 ODIs, Sharma's batting capabilities are set to be a significant determinant in the upcoming encounter.
Examining the historical head-to-head standings, India and the West Indies have squared off on 139 occasions in ODIs, resulting in 70 wins for India and 63 for the West Indies.
By their recent form, India is the favourite to win the series. Boasting a wealth of experienced players and carrying the momentum from their recent test series victory, the Indian team looks in good form to take on the West Indies with full force.
However, the West Indies side, despite their struggles and failing to qualify for the World Cup later this year, have a point to prove. Driven by the goal of showing they can compete at this level, the Caribbean side will be itching to upset the Indian side. It will require every bit of their talent, determination, and luck to overcome this formidable Indian team.