Thursday, July 6, 2017
Start time 0900 local (1400 GMT)
A month ago, the lowest-seeded team went into a world tournament and came away with the championship. Now, in the era of teams cruising to targets of 300-plus, a total of 189 has been successfully defended and a series between the third and the ninth-ranked teams has come to a decider. Ladies and gentlemen, it has finally happened. Miffed at all of us writing it off, and all the talk of little brother T20 taking over the world, fifty-over cricket has decided the time has come to show off the crazy tricks it has up its sleeve. So, Sabina Park, are you ready?
Since 2010, three out of nine totals batting first here have exceeded 300. Additionally, during the past seven years, the average run-rate of 5.00 is the highest across venues in the West Indies (minimum nine matches played). Kingston, and it's fast-paced pitches, offers the best batting conditions in the Caribbean and that plays into India's hands. (Or not, considering India have only won two out of their seven completed ODIs at the venue).
Virat Kohli and his men like to construct their innings organically. They start slowly, build steadily and then only after a certain threshold of overs - in other words, making sure they will not be bowled out - do they vent their anger on the white ball. The first match in North Sound showed this approach in good light, the second not so much. If West Indies' bowlers can maintain discipline stiflingly enough, things could come to a proper boil. What's more, they've tasted victory - for only the fifth time in their last 20 completed matches - and it was remarkably sweet. Both the captain and coach - Jason Holder and Stuart Law - have already said they want more. Weather permitting, that is.
West Indies WLLWL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Fast bowler Kesrick Williams has found great success with his assortment of slower deliveries. With no great pace, he relies on his accuracy and his ability to surprise batsmen with variations. West Indies must have wholehearted trust in his ability to deliver these variations under stress, as they have tended to deploy him in the slog overs.
"Our shot selection wasn't up to the mark," said Virat Kohli in trying to explain how a veritable artillery of batsmen failed to take down a target of 190. The Indian captain himself has been guilty of that particular error, especially against the short ball in this series. Barring one innings, he has not given himself the time he usually likes to feel comfortable at the crease. Perhaps, with the trophy on the line, he'll bring out his best.
West Indies might keep the same team, but they will want their batting line up to be a bit more conscious of scoring runs. In the last five years, and among Full Members, their average of 27.49 and run-rate of 5.13 are only better than Afghanistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe.
West Indies (probable): 1 Evin Lewis, 2 Kyle Hope, 3 Shai Hope (wk), 4 Jason Mohammed, 5 Roston Chase, 6 Jason Holder (capt), 7 Rovman Powell, 8 Ashley Nurse, 9 Kesrick Williams, 10 Devendra Bishoo, 11 Alzarri Joseph
Yuvraj Singh was left out of the last ODI in an effort to manage a hamstring niggle. If he is fit again, he might return to the XI. R Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were rested on Sunday, perhaps they might come off the bench for the decider.
India (probable): 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Yuvraj Singh/Dinesh Karthik/Rishabh Pant, 5 MS Dhoni (wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Kuldeep Yadav, 9 Ravindra Jadeja/R Ashwin, 10 Bhuvneshwar Kumar/ Mohammed Shami, 11 Umesh Yadav
Pitch and conditions
Overhead news: the Kingston weather forecast suggests some rain both on the eve and on the day of the match. Underfoot news: it's the best surface in the Caribbean.
Stats and trivia
MS Dhoni has 119 not outs in international cricket. If he can go unbeaten in one more innings, he'll take the record, from Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan
West Indies have lost the last six bilateral series against India. Their last victory was at home in 2006, a 4-1 demolition
West Indies have won 24 of their 32 ODIs at Sabina Park - including the last nine on the trot
"I don't count myself as a one-dimensional player. I feel that I should see the scoreboard and play accordingly and that's how I'm going to learn cricket."
India allrounder Hardik Pandya
Fans in the Indian subcontinent will be able watch near-live clips of major events during the match on ESPNcricinfo, both on scorecard pages and story pages, and in case you miss watching the match live, you can catch all the highlights and stories told through videos on the site. And the entire series will be streamed live in the Indian subcontinent on ESPN.in and on SonyLIV