The last time these two nations met in a one day international, the West Indies players had just packed their bags in the hotel to go home and the Indians were playing in their conditions at Dharamshala in the mountains in India.
Tomorrow morning (2.30 am), when they meet at the WACA in Perth, the situation will be totally different. The West Indies players don’t intend to pack their bags early to go home from this World Cup, while the Indians will have to contend with the fastest pitch in Australia. The West Indies players are focussed on the field, not their bank accounts for this game, so the Indians will not find it easy against the men from the blue waters of the Caribbean.
West Indies have found themselves in a position where they need to win their final two games to ensure movement into the quarterfinals, while the Indians are virtually there, having taken care of Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and South Africa in their three games to date. Even if they lose to the West Indies, they will more than likely go through, as they still have to face Zimbabwe and Ireland before rounding up their preliminary play.
The West Indies have to win this match and they also have to take care of the UAE in their final match at Napier in New Zealand on March 15. If the West Indies lose here, they will have to beat UAE badly in their final game to stand a chance of making the final four.
The support from the stands will not be in favour of the West Indies, as Indian fans have overtaken Australia, so much so that they can even give the locals a run for their money, if they clash with Australia later on in the tournament.
Former captain and senior player on the West Indies team, Darren Sammy, believes that the fans are in for a treat at the WACA. The match will be played on a very auspicious day for the Indians, as back home many will adorn themselves with bright colours to celebrate ‘Holi’. Sammy wants to spoil that party.
“India could celebrate Holi and we could hopefully celebrate a win.”
Opener Chris Gayle will need to play a big hand against bowlers he is very familiar with, given his stints in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Gayle comes into the clash nursing an injured back but Sammy says it should not be a back factor.
“Chris Gayle’s back has been the same for the last three years but he continues to turn up and perform for us,” he said instead. “He is a senior player and once he is fit and he believes he could make it, he will turn up and give his all for the team.”
Another big factor for the West Indies is the below par bowling performances to date.
“I think it’s not been consistent, we don’t create enough pressure on the opposition when we bowl and as you could see the games when we bowl well, when we get it right and be consistent, we compete with the best in the world. It’s about hitting our line and length and especially in the death overs, hit our yorkers and come back with a plan. It’s quite difficult to stop the batsmen with four men outside the circle. So we have to come up with a plan before to minimise the damage that can be done in the backend of the innings,” said Sammy.
“Any fast bowler would be excited about bowling at the WACA. It’s one of the quickest wickets in the world, but that said, India is playing really well. It’s not that our fast bowlers will come and blast the batsmen out. You still need to put the ball in the right areas and look to get the result. And that’s what we have to do.”
West Indies: Jason Holder (captain), Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Marlon Samuels, Johnson Charles, Lendl Simmons, Jonathan Carter, Denesh Ramdin, Darren Sammy, Andre Russell, Kemar Roach, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Nikita Miller and Sheldon Cottrell.
India: MS Dhoni (captain), Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Stuart Binny and Umesh Yadav.