India eye another home series triumph

IN FINE TOUCH: Ambati Rayudu will be eyeing to extend his good run at the number 4 spot in the fifth and final game on Thursday. PTI

India go into the final ODI on Thursday eyeing another home series triumph against the West Indies, a far cry from the dominant force it was when the city last hosted a 50-over international three decades ago.

A victory in the fifth and penultimate one-day international will help India maintain their unbeaten run since the reverse against South Africa in 2015.

Leading 2-1 in the five-match series that also witnessed a tie, the hosts faced unexpected resistance in the past few days, including a shock defeat.

The weather is expected to play a part with showers predicted.

Virat Kohli's men bounced back from the loss in the third match at Pune to record a massive 224-run win at Mumbai.

The home team will hope to carry the momentum into the series decider.

The last ODI played here was also between the two teams and was won by the visiting side, then an eminent force in world cricket. 

With the series being the first in the run-up to the 50-overs World Cup in England in June next year, the two sides are more or less aiming to zero in on the combination for the showpiece event.

While Kohli and Rohit Sharma have been in superlative form, scoring three and two centuries respectively, Ambati Rayudu, backed by the skipper, has also been among the runs.

The rest of the batsmen haven't quite had the impact they would have liked to. The flamboyant Shikhar Dhawan has not capitalised on the starts while veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni, left out of the T20 squad for the upcoming series against the West Indies and Australia, has found runs hard to come by.

Dhoni stands on the cusp of a milestone, needing one run to reach the 10,000 mark in India colours (he has scored 124 runs for Asia XI).

The return of Jasprit Bumrah has added value to the Indian attack and he proved his worth in the two games he has played while the young Khaleel Ahmed showed he's learning with an impressive spell at the Brabourne Stadium.

Kohli will expect the experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar to raise his level of play in the series finale after moderate returns. The seamer has been recalled following a rest.

The spinners have done the damage with most of the Caribbean batsmen struggling to cope with Kuldeep Yadav, while Yuzvendra Chahal was benched for the fourth ODI in favour of Ravindra Jadeja.

The visitors, on the other hand, have blown hot and cold in the one-dayers after being routed in the Tests.

Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope have impressed the most, having logged a century each while underlining their abilities. Captain Holder has shown he can handle the Indian spinners pretty well but the other batsmen haven't stepped up.

The young West Indies squad has shown they have the talent but not the requisite temperament.

Nurse doubtful

The participation of off-spinner Ashley Nurse, who has been a consistent performer, is in doubt after he suffered an injury during the Mumbai game. His absence could affect the hopes of the Windies in the all-important game.

The final ODI, the second international game to be played at the new greenfield stadium in the city, is expected to draw a full house but the weather holds the key.

 

 

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India eye another home series triumph

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