After receiving a massive jolt in the Chennai ODI, Virat Kohli's Indian cricket team restored the parity by registering a big win in the Vizag ODI. Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul stole the show with a brilliant partnership of 227. However, in both the ODIs so far, the performances of the No.4 and No.5 batsmen, which has been a weak underbelly of the Indian team for the last couple of years has been brilliant. Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant rescued India from a dodgy position in Chennai as both hit fifties while in Vizag, they capitalised on the platform set by Rahul and Rohit to launch a blitz which saw India scoring 55 runs in two overs.
With the batting coming to the fore, all eyes will be on Virat Kohli who has endured a rare bad couple of games. With scores of 4 and 0, Kohli will be determined to sign off the series on a high and help India win their 10th consecutive series against the West Indies. In both games, India have shown good adaptation in batting first but the bowlers stepped up to the plate in Vizag after their poor show in Chennai. Kuldeep Yadav's hat-trick will ease pressure and led by Mohammed Shami's ability to strike at crucial moments, India's bowling seems to be sorted.
However, the lack of back-up in the bowling and India's woeful fielding is the only worrying factor for Kohli heading into Cuttack. Shreyas Iyer dropped Shimron Hetmyer in Chennai and he made them pay and although India's fielders dropped some more catches, the total set by the batsmen proved to be big enough to nullify the late charge provided by Nicholas Pooran and Shai Hope.
The fielding, though, has failed to match the high standards India have set in recent years. "We can't be dropping the catches and we should be better off in this department, improve on our mistakes. You should enjoy fielding," Kohli said in a visibly concerned tone after Vizag. Delhi pacer Navdeep Saini is in line to make his ODI debut in the absence of the inured Deepak Chahar, who was ruled out of the match with a lower back problem.
For the West Indies, the players will have been boosted by their great showing in the IPL Auction. Hetmyer, who struck a career-best 139 in Chennai, was over the moon and danced in excitement after being bought for Rs 7.75 crore by Delhi Capitals in the IPL auction. His teammate Sheldon Cottrell also took home a hefty paycheck after the left-arm pacer was bought for Rs 8.5 crore by Kings XI Punjab, and the Windies duo will be bolstered by that. Hope, who is second only to Rohit in the run chart this year, will look to make a statement after the wicketkeeper-batsman went unsold at the auction. Currently, Hope is the second leading run-getter in ODIs in 2019.
The West Indies will be determined that their bowling does not fall apart in the death overs, a factor which skipper Kieron Pollard said played a big part in their loss. West Indies have been lucky with the toss, having won both times but India will be boosted if they get to chase at the Barabati.
Weather and pitch conditions
The pitch at the Barabati Stadium is going to be similar to the one in Visakhapatnam, offering plenty of runs. The weather along the Coromandel coast has been good so far and it is no different for Cuttack, with clear skies and a maximum of 29 degrees with no chance of rain.