WI quicks key to stopping Indian juggernaut
Friday, March 6
Start time 1430 local (0630 GMT)
The last time these sides played each other, West Indies pulled out of the tour of India midway over a payment dispute with their board. That led to a change in leadership and the exit of a couple of players. The relationship between the BCCI and the WICB may have soured since, but the players from both teams are cordial with each other, mainly due to increased interaction in the IPL.
With just over a month to go before the T20 league begins, India and West Indies will meet for the first time since that tour was terminated in October last year. West Indies have racked up 300-plus all three times they have batted first in this World Cup, but they failed to defend that against Ireland, and also conceded 408 to South Africa bowling first in their previous match. In India, they will face the most economical attack of the tournament.
How West Indies tackle the spinners will be crucial. Their batsmen are famed to forget the singles in the pursuit of boundaries. R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja get through their overs quickly, and can make the scoring-rate dip as fast. The bounce in the pitch will help them too.
The Indian batsmen will also be tested in the conditions of Perth against the West Indies quicks, for their chase against UAE would have been straightforward even in a T20. It is their fourth and last group match in Australia before they move to the smaller grounds of Hamilton and Auckland. Before the tournament, hardly anyone would have thought they could fly out from Perth with four wins in four, but they have a good chance to do just that.
(last five matches, most recent first)
West Indies LWWLL
In the spotlight
Jason Holder was appointed West Indies ODI captain leading into the World Cup, and took a pasting at the hands of the South Africans in Sydney. Holder was asked who does a leader turn to after going for 104 from 10 overs in the previous game. He talked about learning from the past, but how he fronts up against India will be interesting. He will also be expected to deliver with his height on the Perth pitch.
R Ashwin is currently India's leading wicket-taker in the World Cup. He has also had the cushion of two successive totals of 300 or more, and then ran through a clueless UAE line-up using the WACA bounce. The West Indies hitters will nowhere be near as meek. Ashwin saw it as another challenge, saying that their aggression would also give him opportunities to get them out.
Mohammed Shami, who was ruled out of the previous game with a knee issue, bowled in the nets. Shami's replacement, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, has claimed Chris Gayle many times in the past. Mohit Sharma was hit in his right hand during a training session, but should be fit to play after x-ray scans revealed no major damage.
India (possible) 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Ajinkya Rahane, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Mohammed Shami, 10 Mohit Sharma, 11 Umesh Yadav
Kemar Roach was largely confined to sitting in the team dugout during training, indicating no changes in the make-up of the West Indies attack for the WACA pitch.
West Indies (possible) 1 Dwayne Smith, 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Jonathan Carter, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 6 Lendl Simmons, 7 Darren Sammy, 8 Andre Russell, 9 Jason Holder (capt), 10 Jerome Taylor, 11 Sulieman Benn
Pitch and conditions
UAE made 102 against India batting first, while four days later, Australia surged to the highest World Cup total - 417 - against Afghanistan. The truth about the WACA pitch lies somewhere in between the two extremes. There is carry for the quicks, but also punishment if you get carried away by it, as Afghanistan found out against David Warner. Perth is having quite pleasant days by its standards for the past week or so, and another one is forecast on Friday.
Stats and trivia
- India and West Indies have met four times in ODIs in Australia, twice in 1991 and twice in 1992. The only time they played in Perth, Sachin Tendulkar took the last wicket to force a low-scoring tie.
- Jerome Taylor is the only front-line West Indies bowler to have gone for less than a run a ball so far in the tournament. None of India's have conceded more than five an over
"I don't think we're there. There are three games (left) and Ireland's also played good cricket. We like to treat every game like it's a knockout game so that it propels us in a good state."
R Ashwin says India are not looking at the quarter-finals already
"I've picked up a lot from Dhoni. He's a good leader. He's a guy who is respected in the dressing room."
Jason Holder on spending time with the India captain in the Chennai Super Kings dressing room
Abhishek Purohit is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo