Virat Kohli will be aiming to give India the series lead and continue his legendary form. (Image source: BCCI Twitter)
Following the end of the Guwahati ODI, India were favourites to achieve a 5-0 whitewash over the West Indies after they had swept them 2-0 in the Tests. However, a tie in Vizag and a win in Pune have raised questions on India’s momentum. Heading into the fourth ODI, the West Indies have ensured that it is a level playing field with plenty at stake.
A loss for either team will put the series out of their reach and India will be desperate to avoid that fate. The match will be played at the Brabourne stadium, the first time that the venue is hosting an international match since 2009. The last time India played an international game there, they became the world No.1 in Tests. Kohli would be hoping for something similar in this match.
Kohli – One-man army
What can one say about the current form of Kohli? Three consecutive centuries in the series, fourth consecutive in India and already accumulating many milestones. Take Kohli out of the equation and the rest of the Indian batting is a slight cause of concern.
In Pune, the lower middle order failed to capitalise on decent starts and perished to low scores. MS Dhoni’s form at No.6 continues to be a cause of concern. With Dhoni not firing, a failure for Kohli could put the batting under immense strain.
The bowling was boosted by the return of Jasprit Bumrah but his new ball partner Bhuvneshwar Kumar struggled for rhythm. Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have picked up wickets but have been guilty of leaking too many boundaries in the middle overs.
West Indies gain momentum
Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope are the two individuals who have sparked a West Indies revival. The two have displayed aggression, maturity and have played fearless cricket. Hope’s 123* and 95 have been vital in West Indies’ fortunes.
The bowlers worked as a total unit in Pune, with the bonus of Marlon Samuels whose offspin accounted for the wicket of Kohli. With Samuels looking fit after recovering from a knee injury, West Indies would be hoping for more contributions from the all-rounder.
The Brabourne stadium has not been a happy hunting ground for the West Indies. In four games, they have won only once and that was against Australia in the Champions Trophy encounter in 2006. In other games, they have tasted heavy defeats, including being bowled out for 80 against Sri Lanka.