KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – An energised West Indies will hope to build on the momentum gained from their emphatic win in their last outing when they meet India in the decisive fifth and final One-Day International here today.
The contest at Sabina Park will be pivotal for the hosts as they try to avoid yet another series defeat but more importantly, gain valuable rankings points in their race for automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup.
Down 2-1, victory will ensure a drawn series and a break a sequence of series defeats to India dating back to 2006 and also provide a much-needed boost to the regional side’s confidence after a run of unflattering results.
Captain Jason Holder, at the forefront of last Sunday’s stunning 11-run victory in Antigua, said his side were pumped up for the encounter and were keen on executing properly.
“We’re still in the series. We fought well in the last game to come back and keep ourselves alive in the series,” said the Barbadian all-rounder.
“Credit must go to the bowlers the way they bowled throughout this entire series, I think we’ve been outstanding. The fielders have supported reasonably well as well. We just need to get our batting consistent.
“We’ve been struggling to play a perfect game and tomorrow is obviously an opportunity to do that.”
Defending 189 in the fourth ODI four days ago, West Indies bowled superbly to restrict India to 178 all out in a shock result at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium.
But despite the victory, the hosts’ batting woes were exposed as their line-up once again wilted against India’s varied attack. Not a single batsman managed a half-century with openers Evin Lewis and Kyle Hope top-scoring with 35 apiece.
Following the washout of the first ODI of the doubleheader in Trinidad, West Indies were restricted to 205 in pursuit of 311 in the second and then dismissed for 158 chasing 252 in the third ODI.
Holder said he was under no illusions about the form of his batsmen but said they deserved the opportunity to come good insteady of chopping and changing.
“We obviously need the batsmen to come to the fore,” he noted.
“We haven’t gotten a hundred in the series so far so that’s an objective for the batsmen. Everybody knows what’s required of them. It’s just an opportunity tomorrow to come out and make amends for what happened before.”
He added: “The batsmen have got to bat. We need to give them the opportunity. We have a relatively new inexperienced opener in Kyle Hope and we need to give him a run.
“Shai (Hope) has been doing reasonably well for us. Roston Chase is pretty new on the circuit and Jason Mohammed has probably been one of our more consistent one-day players in the recent past so I can’t really foresee too many changes at the top of the order.
“We just need to instill confidence for them to go out there and do what’s required.”
West Indies boast a great record at Sabina Park, having won nine of their last 10 ODIs here over the last seven years.
They beat the Indians in a nail-biter the last time the two teams met here four years ago and Holder is hoping for similar fortunes this time around.
“I personally love to come to Sabina Park [and] many of the guys love to come here as well,” Holder said.
“The atmosphere here is always pretty good. There are avid cricket fans who enjoy the game so I always look forward to coming here and Sabina Park has always been good to West Indies.”
WEST INDIES – Jason Holder (captain), Devendra Bishoo, Sunil Ambris, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Kyle Hope, Rovman Powell, Kesrick Williams.
INDIA – Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Umesh Yadav.