West Indies topple hosts India in Chennai

By Dhanu Delphi on December 16, 2019

Sportsbooks had India as a heavy betting favourite going into the first ODI. Bettors who put money on the men in blue were disappointed on Sunday night as the West Indies outplayed India and cruised to an 8 wicket win to take a 1-0 lead in the three match series.

Sportsbooks still have India as the favourites going into the second ODI which takes place on 18 December in Visakhapatnam. India has odds of 1.25 to win and the West Indies go in with odds of 3.85. This is a must win game of cricket for India to keep the series alive and they will be under pressure, giving the West Indies a great opportunity to pull of an away series win and finish 2019 on a high.

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India does well when Rohit Sharma or Virat Kohli ends up playing a big innings. The pitch was superb in Chennai but the two big guns fell cheaply. Sharma (36) got a start but got out just when he was looking to get going. KL Rahul (6) and Kohli (4) fell cheaply and must the Indian middle-order under pressure.

Shreyas Iyer (70) and Rishabh Pant (71) put together a century partnership to steady the innings. That ensured India got to a competitive total, but it wasn’t good enough. It was up to Iyer and Pant to kick on and play a big innings as India needed to get a score in excess of 300 to put the West Indies under pressure. They lost their way in the last 10 overs as the West Indies took wickets at regular intervals and managed to restrict them to just 287/8.

Lack Of A 5th Bowler Hurts India

India needed to get early wickets to swing the momentum their way and Deepak Chahar gave them the breakthrough when he got rid of Sunil Ambris early. However, S Hetmyer (139) and S Hope (102) looked rock solid and took the game away from India. Shimron Hetmyer played a game changing innings that including 11 fours and 7 sixes while Shai Hope anchored the innings and made sure the West Indies cruised to an easy victory.

The Indian bowling for once lacked in both pace and spin. The bowlers struggled to find their rhythm on a pretty docile pitch. What hurt India in the end was the absence of the 5th bowler as Kohli tried to get Shivam Dube and Kedar Jadhav to make up the 10 overs. Jadhav sent down just 1 over which cost 11 runs and it was enough for Kohli to decide that Dube would have to bowl out the rest.

Dube has been better with the bat than with the ball and that showed yet again on Sunday night. He bowled 7.5 overs and conceded 68 runs at a strike rate of 8.68. It made things very difficult for Kohli to exert any pressure with his team always leaking runs at one end.

Tough Challenge For India

The sportsbooks have India as the favourites but on paper the West Indies look the stronger unit. India’s bowling lacks depth with the absence of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Kohli knows that one way to swing things in the bowlers favour is for the batsmen to get big scores. That would give the bowlers a better buffer when it comes to defending.

The other option for Kohli is to win the toss and put the West Indies to bat. Kohli will have to back his batsmen to chase down whatever total the West Indies set. Kohli will not want to finish 2019 on a sour note. One just feels the men in blue will come out firing in Visakhapatnam.