Windies chase pride in series finale

Batting star Kieron Pollard … has failed to fire over the past two years.

CHENNAI, India, , CMC – West Indies have only pride to play for when they take on India in the final Twenty20 International of the three-match series here today, hoping to end an otherwise wretched tour on a high note.

The Carlos Brathwaite-led side has been little match for the powerful Indian juggernaut, losing the first match in Kolkata by five wickets before going under in the second in Lucknow by 71 runs. Today’s match presents perhaps their best chance especially with India deciding to rest seamers Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav, along with excellent left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav who has terrorised the tourists in all formats during the series.

Ramdin, one of the few senior players in a squad otherwise short on experience said it was important the Windies pulled out all the stops for the contest at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.

“On this wicket, the side boundaries are a bit bigger and the Indians play spin quite well so it’s very important we bowl the right lengths on this wicket,” the former Test captain said.

“They have home advantage but we need to take some pride in ourselves to try and win one game.”

He added: “We’re disappointed. [We’re the] T20 champs and then we played our first game at Eden Gardens – we were expecting to do well but I don’t think we adapt to the wicket as well as we should and we didn’t string any partnerships [together].

“T20, as I said before, is momentum and partnerships and we couldn’t do that. Kuldeep Yadav he played a major part in the Tests, one-day, and T20 series [but] the guys haven’t been able to pick him. I think he was basically one of the threats in the middle overs where we couldn’t really push on.”

None of the West Indies big guns have fired in the series, with Kieron Pollard perhaps being the most glaring failure. The Trinidadian has scores of 14 and six in his two innings, and averages a meagre 12 in his last 11 innings over the past two years.

Ramdin, who has 12 runs from two innings, said the Windies players needed to back their ability more if they wanted to find results.

“It’s a very challenging and tough sport, especially when you play here in India,” he explained.

“Some of the guys had some success – young (Shai) Hope and (Shimron) Hetmyer – to transfer that from the 50 overs into the T20, they tried their best. It’s all about batting some more balls [and] I don’t think they gave themselves enough of a chance.

“T20 is a lot of balls – 120 balls – you take 10 or 12 balls to get set and I don’t think they’ve done that in this series. It’s all about keep backing yourself and having the self confidence – that’s how T20 goes.

“You lose some, you win some but when you have momentum [it helps] and we didn’t have that momentum from the first game.” West Indies did not travel with a number of their stars as superstar Chris Gayle made himself unavailable and Evin Lewis pulled out days before the series, while all-rounder Andre Russell and Sunil Narine were both injured.

Selectors opted for five debutants and several other players with few T20s inside the last two years, leaving the squad considerably weakened. Ramdin said the absence of the experienced players had been a factor in the Windies sub-par performance in the series.

“It’s difficult at this point in time to try and build a team. When you look at our T20 players, they’re in demand around the world and we’re suffering in that aspect. Some of our senior players didn’t turn up for this tour and that’s why we’re two-nil down in the T20 [series].”

SQUADS:

INDIA – Rohit Sharma (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Shahbaz Nadeem, Siddarth Kaul.

WEST INDIES – Carlos Brathwaite (captain), Denesh Ramdin, Darren Bravo, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, Fabien Allen, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Oshane Thomas, Sherfane Rutherford, Obed McCoy, Rovman Powell.

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