Windies in perform or perish mode as India look for series clincher

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India and Windies tussle in Lucknow. Image - BCCI/Twitter.

A sparkling, brand-new Ekana stadium will greet India and the West Indies at Lucknow when the two sides meet for the second T20 on Tuesday.

In what will be the first international match hosted in Lucknow since 1994, there will be plenty at stake for both teams in the pivotal match of the series.

The hosts have a 1-0 lead in the three-match series courtesy of their five-wicket win at the Eden Gardens. As such, the visitors have it all to do on Tuesday to keep the series alive after their comprehensive defeats in the preceding Test and ODI series.

BHUVNESHWAR KUMAR SET TO RETURN FOR INDIA

India had to make do without the services of Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the opening T20 after the pacer complained of gastric pain just moments before the start of the game.

The premier fast bowler for India is now all set to return and should replace Umesh Yadav in the playing XI. With Jasprit Bumrah his usual self and Khaleel Ahmed impressing on his T20 debut, India’s fast-bowling battery is looking pretty good with Bhuvneshwar’s return.

Bhuvneshwar himself looked a little scratchy in the ODI series and three wickets from the four games was not the returns the right-armed pacer would have liked. With the much-anticipated tour of Australia coming up next, he will want to get back into full rhythm as quickly as possible.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is back for India.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is back for India.

KL RAHUL’S SCRATCHY FORM IN THE SPOTLIGHT ONCE AGAIN

KL Rahul was backed to establish himself in India’s middle-order ever since his stupendous individual campaign for the Kings XI Punjab in the IPL earlier this year. However, it has not really gone to plan for the classy right-hander since then and he now finds himself on the fringes of the ODI squad.

Meanwhile, Ambati Rayudu has been given an extended run at the number four spot in the one-day team and the batsman has very much made that role his own with some excellent displays in the Asia Cup and the ODI series against the Windies.

With Rayudu not featuring in the T20 squad, the series represents another chance for Rahul to stake his claim for the World Cup squad spot. He did himself no favours in the opening T20 after he was dismissed following a 22-ball 16.

Time is running out for Rahul with each passing game and he cannot afford to continue blowing hot and cold.

Time running out for Rahul. Image - BCCI/Twitter.

Time running out for Rahul. Image – BCCI/Twitter.

VISITORS MUST DO-OR-DIE

The Windies were expected to put in a much better showing in the T20 series given their prowess in the format. as well as the fact they are the reigning world champions.

However, their Kolkata display was anything but worthy of that tag with the batting order collapsing like a house of cards. They did much better with the ball in hand to run India close, debutant Oshane Thomas particularly impressing with his raw pace.

Carlos Brathwaite was excellent as a bowler too but the T20 stalwart, along with Kieron Pollard, failed to come to the party with bat in hand. The Lucknow T20 is must-win game for the visitors if they are to salvage anything from what has otherwise been a disappointing tour.

They have a fine collection of youngsters honed in the T20 format but they will need some of the senior stalwarts to step up if they are to stop the dominant hosts in their own backyard.

The likes of Pollard will need to step up for Windies.

The likes of Pollard will need to step up for Windies.

LIKELY XIs

India: Rohit Sharma (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed.

West Indies: Shai Hope, Denesh Ramdin, Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Carlos Brathwaite, Rovman Powell, Keemo Paul, Fabian Allen, Khari Pierre, Oshane Thomas.

WHEN: November 6, Tuesday

WHERE: Ekana Stadium, Lucknow

TIME: 17:30 GST

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