West Indies v India
Sunday August 11, 14:30
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
After a washout in game one it would be easy to say we have learned nothing. After all, only 13 overs were possible in Providence. But that would be a little lazy. Once again Chris Gayle produced the sort of innings that damned progress for the Windies in this format.
His torturous 31-ball four once again highlighted the need for the West Indies to dispense with a marketable face and instead focus on men who can win matches. The likes of Sunil Ambris, left out of the squad, must have been watching on with head in hands.
With Gayle disinterested, Evin Lewis got a sweat on with 40 from 36 balls. Shai Hope, Nic Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer completed an exciting middle-order. As usual the bowling attack looked one-dimensional. It was pace, pace and more pace with Roston Chase included almost as an apology to spin. It is doubtful there is enough nous and variance in that attack to trouble India consistently.
India change up
Unlike West Indies, India are trying to move on. With MS Dhoni at home, this is new era, new-look stuff. Rish Pant has the wicketkeeper's job and Shreyas Iyer the No 4 slot. All they need do now is replace Kedar Jadav and they can start to build something.
Perhaps when Hardik Pandya returns - he is not in the squad - Jadav will be the goner his World Cup woe justified. Jadav seems to be in the XI as a safety valve with Virat Kohli calling on his experience to guide new players and also as a sixth bowling option.
The bowling attack is more stable. Bhuv Kumar and Mohammad Shami lead it, guiding Khaleel Ahmed. Kuldeep Yadav and Ravi Jadeja are the spin options. Keeping Kuldeep ahead of Yuz Chahal would have been a major confidence boost for the former, who has been struggling for rhythm since an Indian Premier League meltdown.
Could be slow surface
There have been eight completed ODI at the Queen's Park Oval since 2010. The first-innings scores (most recent first, 1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second) read: 310-1/199-nr (39 overs)/201-2/119-1(29 overs)/219-1/311-1/240-1/214-2/252/2. When the full 50 overs have been available the average first-innings score is 233. India have played there six times in the study period and won all of them.
It is fair to say that it's a home from home for India. The wicket is generally slow and low and boundary scoring has been difficult. Indeed, it has a below-average boundary percentage for ODI venues.
Testing the market intelligence
West Indies could appear to be in the game if the market isn't smart about what type of wicket this is. If they were to bowl first and restrict India to 260, the match odds could be fooled. This opens up two possibilities.
A trade on West Indies from the current 3.45 to around 2.407/5. Or deploying a watching brief and hoping that India can come up from 1.3030/100 to a more palatable 1.608/13. If India are restricted to 230-260 we'll be looking to bet them because we expect their spinners to come to the fore.
The last time India played there in June 2017 Kohli said the wicket would slow down significantly. And he was right. The weather forecast is good and we don't expect any rain issues.
Taking on Gayle
Shai Hope, opening the batting, made 81 in the last ODI at this venue. It was against India. Only Lewis, Jason Holder and Chase survive from that XI. West Indies were chasing a massive 311 in just 43 overs. They got nowhere near, losing by 105 as the wicket slowed. Ajinkya Rahane made a century and Shikhar Dhawan and Kohli notched half-centuries. Two days previously India were on course for another biggy before a washout.
Dhawan made 87 and Kohli was 32 not out with India 199 for three of 39. Hope will go off at 13/5 (Sportsbook) for top Windies bat honours. Dhawan and Kohli get 23/10 and 4/1 quotes respectively.
With Gayle struggling for timing in Providence, and another slow wicket expected, the best bet could be shorting his runs quote at under 31.5 with Sportsbook at 10/11. In his career he has gone under that mark 57% of the time and 50% of the time in the last two years and three years. In 19 innings in Trinidad he has busted the mark seven times and he averages 27.8 runs per innings.