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India eye another win against Windies to enter Semi
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India eye another win against Windies to enter Semi

Agency News

Kohli men aim to win against West Indies and enter into the knock out stage in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 here at Old Trafford on Thursday.

But the Jason Holder-led unit's unpredictability might play spoilsport who will hit the pitch with nothing to lose in their remaining fixtures. West Indies come into this match after a heartbreaking five-run loss to New Zealand – a game that seemed all but over before Carlos Brathwaite almost produced an unimaginable result. Such has been the story of the Jason Holder-led side in this tournament so far, as the little flashes of brilliance at different points haven't been enough to produce the desired results.

After maintaining a winning streak from the beginning in the ongoing World Cup, the Indian cricket team will aim for their sixth win when they take on an ousted-yet-dangerous West Indies in Manchester on Thursday. Ahead of the clash, MS Dhoni’s batting position will be the team management’s primary concern. The former India skipper managed just 28 runs in 52 deliveries against Afghanistan and was exposed to heavy criticism. “There was no positive intent,” batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar said claiming Dhoni’s approach reflected lack of positive intent. As the Windies side loaded with fast bowlers, it will be comparatively easier for the Dhoni to rotate the strike.

With four league matches still to be played, the team management might opt to give Kedhar Jadhav a chance to bat above Dhoni. Afghanistan match showed that if Hardik Pandya doesn’t get support from the other end, there is too much pressure on him to hit every delivery for a six.

West Indies, on the other hand, will look to finish on a high after being knocked out despite a great start against Pakistan. The team, especially the fast bowling department, has shown tremendous potential including the young bumper-happy fast bowling duo of Sheldon Cotterell and Oshane Thomas. Andre Russell, who appeared to be in discomfort each time he stepped onto the field, has been ruled out of the tournament due to a knee injury. With mathematical permutations still giving them an outside chance for a semi-final berth, West Indies will aim to pull off a complete performance against an in-form Indian side.

The Indian bowlers once again proved their match-winning capabilities as they successfully defended a below-par score against Afghanistan on Saturday. Jasprit Bumrah’s opening spell against Gayle may set the tone while the talented duo of Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer will be asked a few questions by Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.Mohammed Shami, who picked up a hat-trick in Southampton, is likely to retain his place in the playing XI as India are unlikely to risk playing Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was sidelined due to a hamstring injury. The Indian middle-order will look to add more stability to the batting and bat deep into the innings to give bowlers enough runs in the bank.

Looking at the pitch, the surface at Old Trafford has been beneficial for the bowlers so far in the tournament. The team winning the toss should opt to bat. The temperature is expected to hover around 20-23 degrees Celsius according to AccuWeather. With the weather report suggesting the day to be bright and sunny on Thursday, toss can play an important factor.

Squads
India: Virat Kohli (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra
Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul,
Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav

West Indies: Jason Holder (c), Chris Gayle, Kemar Roach, Darren Bravo, Sunil
Ambris, Shai Hope, Sheldon Cottrell, Evin Lewis, Shannon Gabriel, Carlos
Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Shimron Hetmyer, Fabian Allen, Oshane Thomas,
Nicholas Pooran.