Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Co. aim for supremacy, West Indies eye redemption in final ODI
After losing the Test series by an innings margin in both the games, the West Indians have a chance to seal the three-match ODI series. A day match at Green Park, Kanpur presents an exciting prospect as Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his team will look to continue their dominant run of late.
Unfavourable bowling conditions may have pegged them back in the last match but India will look to assert their supremacy and clinch the series against the West Indies when the two teams clash in the decisive third One-day International, in Kanpur on Wednesday.
India have been a dominant force in this contest since West Indies' arrival to the country but the hosts suffered a surprise two-wicket defeat in Visakhapatnam, failing to defend a competitive total under difficult conditions.
That victory must have boosted confidence of the West Indies who would now aim to leave the country by pocketing at least the ODI series, following their forgettable performance in the Tests.
The visitors, for the first time on this tour, will approach a match with self-belief and confidence.
For India, it is last international match at home before they embark on a challenging tour of South Africa and they would like to finish this series on a high.
The Indian batting line-up sports a solid look. The top three -- Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni -- have been the real force behind India's batting in the recent months.
With scores of 86 and 99 in the two matches in the series so far, Kohli, in particular, has been in scintillating form. But it is the form of Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina in the middle order which will be a cause of concern for Dhoni ahead of the series decider.
Both Yuvraj and Raina have some work to do as they have been guilty of throwing their wickets away after getting starts. But Dhoni, who struck a quick-fire 51 in the last game to propel India to 288, backed Yuvraj to strike form in the upcoming matches, terming the left-hander as vital cog in India's middle-order.
"We want Yuvi to do well. He is someone who can bat well at No 4. Someone who can really dominate the oppositions. Last few games, he has struggled a bit. At times it happens when you're under pressure the 15-20 first deliveries become crucial," Dhoni had said after the second ODI.
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who has been doing a decent job with his slow left-armers, too would be desperate to return among runs.
Barring the last match where dew played a major factor, the Indian bowlers have been pretty consistent in the series so far.
Pace trio of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami and Mohit Sharma leaked runs in Visakhapatnam. Dew did not help their cause as they struggled to grip the ball and handed out loose deliveries to the West Indies batsmen.
Come tomorrow, the trio would be looking to make up in better conditions.
The spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja, as usual, has been miser with the ball and the two bowlers would like to carry on their good show to help India clinch the series.
Dhoni would also be hoping for an improved showing from fielders as they dropped as many as five catches in the last match, with the skipper himself failing to hold on to two of them.
West Indies, on the other hand, did just enough to secure the win in the second match.
Kieran Powell, who has replaced injured Chris Gayle in the playing eleven, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons and Darren Sammy scored crucial half-centuries to help the Caribbean side in securing their maiden win on the tour.
However, one thing which would be worrying skipper Dwayne Bravo is his batsmen's inability to convert the starts into big scores and come Wednesday he would be hoping for a substantial contribution from one of his top-order batsmen.
West Indies' bowling attack played a key role in keeping the series alive with an improved showing towards the end of the last match to restrict India to 288, who at one stage were on 194 for 3 in the 36th over, with Kohli on course for an 18th ODI century.
Ravi Rampaul, Jason Holder and Sunil Narine pulled the visitors back. Narine bowled his last five overs in the last match for just eight runs, bowling two maidens while Rampaul took four wickets.
Despite Dhoni's assault towards the end, a total of 95 runs required in the last 15 overs meant a manageable chase for the Windies, which became easier as the dew got heavier.
With the series-decider being a day match, toss would play a crucial role and the team winning the toss would definitely like to exploit the early morning conditions of the Green Park stadium.
The two captains, however, would be cautious as they don't know what to expect from the pitch at the stadium, which is hosting an international match after nearly four years.
The last time Green Park hosted an international affair was a Test match between India and Sri Lanka in November 2009 which the hosts comfortably won.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Shami, Jaydev Unadkat, R Vinay Kumar, Ambati Rayudu, Mohit Sharma and Amit Mishra.
West Indies: Dwayne Bravo (captain), Johnson Charles (wicketkeeper), Marlon Samuels, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Narsingh Deonarine, Darren Sammy, Jason Holder, Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul, Tino Best, Veerasammy Permaul, Kieran Powell and Denesh Ramdin.
Match starts: 09:00 am.