Thiruvananthapuram: After a huge 224-run victory in the fourth One-day International (ODI) against West Indies in Mumbai, Virat Kohli's Team India, who is leading the five match series 2-1, will take on West Indies in the fifth and final ODI at the Greenfield International stadium here on Thursday.
If the Indian skipper Kohli, who had smashed three consecutive centuries in the first three ODIs, along with the other two top order batsmen, including Rohit Sharma and Ambati Rayudu continue their reliable form, it would be an easy to kill the challenge of Caribbean and also register their eighth straight series win over their rivals in the bilateral ODI series.
However, it may be recalled that last time the West Indies had won the series in 2006 at their home turf. With blistering form of 140, 157 not out and 107 in the first three games, Kholi had gained the credit of becoming the first Indian to score three consecutive hundreds in the 50-over format.
With the quick firework of 162 by Rohit Sharma and 100 by Ambati Rayudu, drove the Indian team to a deserving 224 run victory against the West Indies in the fourth ODI, the last ODI would certainly boost their confidence to win the match as well as wrapping up the series.
Though the outcome of the wicket at the greenfield stadium, whether it batting friendly or bowling, in general in all the four matches played so far were batting friendly wickets, which enabled the teams to pile up huge scores.The cricket pundits are expecting a good fireworks at the greenfield stadium as well in the final ODI.
Along with the batsmen, the bowling heroes of the Mumbai ODI, Khaleel Ahamed, who made a wonderful job claiming three wickets by conceding just 13 runs and his partner Kuldeep Yadav' haul of three wickets conceding little costly 43 runs, virtually forced the West Indies to be under pressure, as they could make only 56 runs losing six top order batsmen within 14 overs, enabling Team India notching up their mammoth 224 run victory, as well as taking 2-1 lead.
Besides that, India, also looking to maintain their winning streak in the ODI bilateral tournaments at home, which stretches back to their 3-2 win against New Zealand in 2016.
As far as the Team India is concerned, the team is well fit in all the departments, whether it is in bowling, batting and even fielding.
Though the visitors, had won the third ODI against India, they looked like a disjointed team, especially in the bowling department, and they should pull up the socks to level the series at 2-2.
Skipper Jason Holder, who had piled up an unbeaten 54 runs in Mumbai, likely to be promoted further up to face the challenge of the Indian bowlers. The West Indies need to address the running between wickets, as they lost both Shai Hope and Kieran Powell to run-outs at a crucial juncture during their run-chase.
The weather is also expected to play a part as rain is expected to hit Thiruvananthapuram during the afternoon, which might mean that the game gets delayed or even curtailed.However, the home team will hope to carry the momentum in the series decider in the southern city.
The last ODI played at the same Greenfield International Stadium was also between the same two teams and was won by the visiting side, then an eminent force in world cricket.
As far as the West Indies are concerned, Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope had impressed the most, having logged a century each while underlining their abilities. Captain Holder has shown he can handle the Indian spinners pretty well but the other batsmen have not covered themselves with glory.
The participation of off-spinner Ashley Nurse, who has been a consistent performer, is in doubt after he suffered an injury in the Mumbai encounter. His absence could affect the hopes of the West Indies in the all-important game.
India: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma (vice-capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed, Umesh Yadav, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey.
Windies: Jason Holder (capt), Fabian Allen, Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope (wk), Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Oshane Thomas.