West Indies v India
Sunday 2 June 13.30
TV: live on Sky Sports
At the halfway point of game three, West Indies were in the box seat. They needed just 251 to win after they bowled and fielded exceptionally against a strong India batting line-up.
It was spin which was key. Ashley Nurse and Dev Bishoo were tight in the extreme going for a combined 72 off their 20 overs. It meant that the expected mid-innings platform build from India just never materialised.
Unfortunately, the performances of Nurse and Bishoo was a warning. India were not worried. Whatever the Windies spinners could do, they could trump.
And so it proved. West Indies managed just 158 in reply with resistance coming from Jason Mohammed and Rovman Powell.
The spin trio of Ravi Ashwin, Kedar Jadav and Kuldeep Yadav proved to be the difference in the game with seven wickets being shared around. Kuldeep claimed three and he is fast becoming a very important player for India. At this rate Ravi Jadeja may not get back in.
Otherwise India were becalmed with the bat. Up top Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan were ponderous regardless of the time they lasted and it was down to MS Dhoni, who top scored, and Kedar to launch something of a rescue mission.
They are likely to pick the same XI but one possible change is giving Yuvraj Singh a rest for Risbah Pant, who is a coming force and impressed in the recent IPL.
There have now been 16 ODI matches at North Sound. The scores in all those games (most recent first) read: 250-225-296-303-159-269-249-225-300-380-247-235-174-104(22 overs)-177-322.
Was that West Indies' best chance of success? Possibly. But there is hope for them in the repeat fixture at the same venue.
The state of the wicket is key and if, as likely, they play on the same strip again spin will once again be key. If Nurse and Bishoo can get a grip defending, then Windies should be capable of getting a foothold in the market.
Of course, we would be relying on West Indies batting much better. But there is a glimmer. And they are, after all, [4.9] shots. India are [1.23].
India are a much better chasing side. But you pays your money you takes your choice.
We talked up Mohammed before game three because of his good ground form and we are cursing ourselves for not showing more faith. He is 9/2. We note Powell's contribution, too. He is a 11-1 chance. Jason Holder is probably overpriced at 17/2.
Dhoni copped at big odds of 12/1. This time he has shortened up to 15/2. Rahane, who has been in good touch, is 3/1. Dhawan and Kohli are both 11/4. Kedar is 12/1.
West Indies [4.9] (0.5pts)
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017.
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