India's T20 machine is purring again. All the talk coming from within the team - from the coach to the captain to the players - is that they haven't done much different. But it is fairly clear that the early exit from last year's T20 World Cup has led to some sort of a revolution.
From being a team that totally relied on their big bad top three - to the point that Virat Kohli once straight up lolled at the prospect of ever dropping Rohit Sharma - India are now front-loading their finishers just to shake things up a bit. Rishabh Pant has had a stint as opener in England. Suryakumar Yadav too in the first T20I of this series.
India have also warmed up to the idea of picking super-specialists, with Arshdeep Singh forcing his way into the XI just to bowl his remarkably hard-to-hit yorkers at the death and Dinesh Karthik pretty much nailing his spot as the 12-ball 38 not-out guy. It's a brave new world out there.
And West Indies are still trying to find their place in it. They have the raw material for another world-beating team, but they haven't gained the kind of experience that Chris Gayle and company had under their belt when they took T20 batting and broke it down into the barest essential: six-hitting. So, in a way, all these games against seriously strong opponents, regardless of the result, are simply creating the next wave of Caribbean class. But given there is a series on the line, and they did kind of dominate the first 15 overs of the first T20I, these potential superstars will feel their own time is not too far away.
West Indies: LWWLL (Last five matches, most recent first)
Players to watch
Harshal Patel had to make way in Tarouba because conditions demanded three spinners. But now that the T20 caravan has moved to Basseterre, he might find his way back into the XI. The 31-year old seamer has an uncanny knack of bowling exactly the ball that batters don't want to face in the final overs. And a captain will want an asset like that more often than not.
Kyle Mayers' all-round ability means he is never too far from the spotlight. And the fact that he opens for West Indies means that he's the sort of player who can define a cricket match. He has already done so in the toughest format of the game - remember Chittagong 2021 - so figuring out T20 cricket shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Brandon King and Romario Shepherd are set to slot back into the XI after missing the first T20I because of US visa appointments. Also, playing just one spinner in Tarouba backfired on West Indies, so they may be tempted to look at bringing in Hayden Walsh Jr on Monday
West Indies: 1 Kyle Mayers, 2 Brandon King, 3 Nicholas Pooran (capt & wk), 4 Jason Holder, 5 Rovman Powell, 6 Shimron Hetmyer, 7 Romario Shepherd, 8 Akeal Hosein, 9 Keemo Paul/Hayden Walsh Jr, 10 Alzarri Joseph, 11 Obed McCoy
India rarely tinker with a winning combination, especially during a series that is still live, but will they need all three spinners again in Basseterre? The quicks have taken 71 wickets in 10 matches here, averaging just 17.
India: 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 Suryakumar Yadav, 3 Shreyas Iyer, 4 Rishabh Pant (wk), 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Dinesh Karthik, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Ravi Bishnoi/Harshal Patel, 10 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 11 Arshdeep Singh
Pitch and conditions
In addition to being fast-bowler friendly, Warner Park has also been a relatively low-scoring T20I venue. It was here, back in 2019, that West Indies recorded the lowest total (45 all out) by a Full Member in this format. The weather is expected to be clear for the duration of the match.
Stats and trivia
India have used seven openers in T20Is this year. Any one fancy Hardik Pandya adding to that number tomorrow?
Among Full Member teams, West Indies' death-overs economy rate of 11.71 this year is the third worst, behind South Africa and Bangladesh.