West Indies v India
Friday 22 July, 15:30
TV: live on BT Sport
Windies in comfort zone
West Indies will be delighted to transition from their weakest format to their strongest. They lost all three ODI versus India following on from a whitewash against Bangladesh. In T20 at home they have won series against Bangladesh, England, Sri Lanka and Australia since 2021.
We expect many of the squad successful against Bangladesh to return for this contest. Nic Pooran will skip with Rovman Powell his deputy. Kyle Mayers is possibly their MVP considering he opens the batting and has done so with the ball, too.
All-rounder Odean Smith remains a player of interest. He batted at No 4 in the last game but was expensive with the ball. This could be a series where he attempts to transition to full-time batter.
Hayden Walsh and Akeal Hossein are attack leaders with Obed McCoy, Romario Shepherd and Dominic Drakes pace options. Alzarri Joseph could be added to the squad.
Possible XI: King, Mayers, Brooks, Smith, Pooran, Powell, Akeal, Shepherd, Drakes, McCoy, Walsh
India are almost at full-strength. And yes, we know Virat Kohli is not included in the 18-man group. Kohli is 'rested' although you'd have to have been living under a rock to recognise him as good enough for this team.
One absentee which could make a difference is Yuz Chahal. His rest is genuine. But India have plenty of spin options including Ravi Jadeja, Axar Patel, Ravi Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravi Bishnoi.
Fitness permitting, KL Rahul could return to open the batting with captain Rohit Sharma meaning Ishan Kishan is unlucky to miss out. Deepak Hooda and Shreyas Iyer may also be unfortunate. They're in a battle for the No 3 slot with Suryakumar Yadav although we note that Rishabh Pant could also bat there having opened against England.
Yadav is the man in form after a blistering century in the odd one out in a 2-1 success against England. He really should be given the chance to make the No 3 slot his own.
Possible XI: Rohit, KL Rahul, Yadav, Pant, Hardik, Karthik, Jadeja, Axar, Kumar, Harshal, Avesh
There were 22 T20 matches at Tarouba in 2020. That's a pretty hefty study period. The average run rate was 7.4 and the average score 135. It wouldn't be too canny to charge in here expecting big runs, although we won't advise wagering purely on those numbers.
Tarouba hosted half of the CPL that year so pitches were worn and harder to bat on. There was a noticeable trend for sides chasing and winning in the second half of that campaign.
A score of 160 would be a good one and local knowledge if West indies bat first should guide us. With the runs par line expected to be in the mid 160s with the flip going their way it could well be a short. India's runs are expecting to be in the high 160s. Bet the runs line here
Windies can battle
West Indies are 2.8815/8 with India 1.511/2. As we have said ODI form is not instructive but there is a useful snippet here from that series which could pay dividends.
The home team's best performance came in the first game when they came mighty close to an upset, perhaps taking advantage of an India squad undercooked without prep time. With an influx of new players having to acclimatise, this could be West Indies' best chance.
Indeed, they should know this pitch inside out. India won't have a clue. From a high starting point we can have a gamble that West indies can trade favourites.
If they bat first, do bear in mind that it could take a while. They are likely to build a platform for a late assault which is CPL style. Bet the match odds here
Keep an eye on the price for Mayers to top score. Sportsbook have underrated him in the past and have priced him as a middle-order player. There is no standout player on win rate but big numbers on the likes of Akeal Hosein and Romario Shepherd always have appeal.
For India, Yadav will be all the rage. We would expect from 10/3 to be available. Rohit is likely to be around 11/4 jolly if boosted. Check his price for top match bat. He wins 16.6% of the time which means we could play from 5/1, although it may be wise to wait for better batting surfaces in the series to come.