India and West Indies gear up for a three-match T20I series, starting Wednesday at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. India will be aiming for a clean sweep after thrashing the visitors in the ODIs series by a 3-0 margin. The series can be used by both sides to seek experimentation and try different players with the ICC T20 World Cup to be held later this year.
Both sides couldn’t quite get going in the previous T20 WC last year in the UAE. Notably, both India and WI have some dazzling players in their squads who can make this series pretty interesting. WI had beaten England recently, winning a five-match series by a 3-2 margin. India will be aiming to extend their record over WI, enjoying a 10-6 lead in the head-to-head meetings so far.
Ahead of a crunch series in Kolkata, we look at the key player battles.
Rohit Sharma vs Jason Holder
Indian captain Rohit Sharma will be keen to score some vital runs in the series after misfiring in the ODIs. Rohit is a class T20I batsman and has the knack of playing long innings. His focus will be to anchor India’s batting. That makes his battle against all-rounder Jason Holder highly interesting. Holder is in good form and bagged a mega IPL contract over the weekend. He has 38 T20I wickets so far. His accuracy and variations could test Rohit. As per Cricmetric, Rohit has managed to score 11 runs from eight deliveries bowled by Holder. Meanwhile, the latter has dismissed Rohit on one occasion.
Virat Kohli vs Odean Smith
Odean Smith is one of the rising stars of WI, and he bagged a superb contract in the IPL 2022 mega auction. Smith showed his mettle in the ODI series, hitting big boundaries in some substantial knocks. He bowled well too, claiming four scalps. Smith, who dismissed Virat Kohli once in the series, will be aiming to unsettle the 33-year-old. Kohli hasn’t been firing of late and has the tendency to push at deliveries around the off stump. He often goes for audacious drives to offer edges. He was dismissed in a similar fashion against Smith too.
Nicholas Pooran vs Deepak Chahar
Nicholas Pooran will want to bat somewhere at number three or four. He is a promising player and bagged a mega-contract in the IPL. Pooran, who has 1,009 runs in T20Is, will need to show his strength and be the leader for WI. His battle against Deepak Chahar will be extremely crucial. Chahar gets the ball to talk and swing. He has the knack of picking early wickets. If Pooran comes in early, he will be tested by Chahar, who is generally a new-ball bowler. In T20Is, Pooran has managed to score eight runs from eight balls against Chahar, being dismissed once.
Kieron Pollard vs Yuzvendra Chahal
WI skipper Kieron Pollard is known for his big shots, and he will fancy the spinners. Moreover, Pollard can get those extra runs at the death for WI when they need a move on. He is extremely crucial and has an important series ahead of him after missing the ODIs. However, it will be interesting to watch him face Indian wrist-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. The latter has dismissed him four times in the IPL already, with Pollard getting 69 runs from 43 balls. In T20Is, Pollard has managed eight runs from seven balls versus Chahal, being out on one occasion.
Suryakumar Yadav vs Akeal Hosein
Slow left-arm orthodox bowler Akeal Hosein has had a good start to his T20I career for WI. Hosein looks confident in his approach, and he is a white-ball specialist. His approach against Suryakumar Yadav will be interesting. SKY is a solid player and handles spin well. It will be an interesting battle between these two. In the recently concluded ODI series, Akeal bowled 33 deliveries to SKY, who managed a total of 25 runs. SKY hit three fours and wasn’t dismissed.