India vs West Indies, 2nd ODI: India Look to Sort Out Bowling Woes As Hetmyer Threat Looms Large

Shimron Hetmyer scored his career-best 139 to help West Indies win the first ODI in Chennai on Sunday by eight wickets. In the process, he added a record-breaking 218 run-partnership with Shai Hope (102) and displayed his immense batting class to give West Indies the upper hand in the series. The second match of the series which will be played in Visakhapatnam now becomes a must-win for India to stay alive in the series.

The Men in Blue came into this series as the favorites but were outplayed in Chennai where they had a better understanding of the conditions. However as it turned out, the pitch did very little in the second innings as Hetmyer plundered the Indian bowling attack to all parts of the ground. All the Indian bowlers leaked runs in the first game with the Indian spin-duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja giving away 103 runs in 20 overs and going wicketless.

Also Read: India vs West Indies, 1st ODI: Windies T20 Temperament to be Tested in ODIs

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Going into the second ODI thus sorting out the bowling attack remains the prime concern for the management. With the average first-innings score in Vizag close to 320, India would look to include a fifth bowling option in the form of Yuzvendra Chahal. In such a scenario, Shivam Dube might have to sit out. Dube scored just nine with the bat and gave away 68 runs in just 7.5 overs as the Hetmyer-Hope pair exposed the weakling of the Indian bowling attack. That they also did not give away their wickets to the spinners was also a big moral victory as they chased down the target with 13 balls to spare.

Between the despair of India’s bowling group falling apart, Rishabh Pant getting back into runs and form came as a breath of fresh air for the Indian thinktank. After repeated failures, Pant finally scored his maiden ODI fifty and looked good to get a hundred until he perished for 71 off 69 balls. Pant who attended India’s post-match press conference after the game said that there is nothing called ‘natural game’ in cricket and that players play according to the situation and situation only. Shreyas Iyer displayed solidity at number four as he scored 70 off 88 balls as he and Pant added a 100-plus partnership.

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However, there is enough selection dilemma that the management have to deal with especially in figuring out a perfect bowling attack for the next game. The top four looks settled with Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul opening the batting and Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer keeping their places. Pant who scored his maiden fifty in Chennai also keeps his place which means that Sanju Samson still has to wait for maiden ODI cap.

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With the top 5 sorted the question is really between the all-rounders and their role in the side. Kedar Jadhav played his part by scoring 40 runs with the bat but was given just one over in Chennai. Shivam Dube and Ravindra Jadeja both failed to perform in the first game and one of them is expected to be replaced by Chahal. As far as Jadhav is concerned, he just bowled one over in a much-favored and spin-friendly Chennai track. With Manish Pandey, a proper batsman and a gun-fielder waiting in the wings, there is a scope for the Karnataka batsman to get a game.

Also Read: 5 Wicket-Keepers Who Can Replace Rishabh Pant In The Indian Team, If he flops against West Indies

With the team management in the experiment process, Pandey hasn’t been tested so far and this game becomes the perfect one for him to make a claim. Pacers Mohammad Shami and Deepak Chahar are likely to retain their spots knowing that they have a tough task at hand in Vizag.

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The Windies, on the other hand, looks a settled unit at the moment and a better outfit than India. Hetmyer was the hero of their previous game and will be the key player in the second as well. Hope’s role of anchoring the innings while batting first or chasing remains the same.

Their bowling attack also did their job and that they were able to restrict them under 300 was commendable on their part. A change in the Windies XI is unlikely unless they have any injury concerns.

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Five out of the eight matches that have been played at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium have been won by the team batting second. The pitch is a perfect one for batting with the ball expected to come onto the bat a lot quicker than that in Chennai.

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