India Clinch Series with Convincing Win Over West Indies
★India defeat West Indies by 200 runs in the third ODI to win the series 2-1.
★The match raises questions about India’s team combination ahead of the Asia Cup and World Cup.
★Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan’s opening partnership sets the stage for India’s total of 351 for 5.
★Sanju Samson and Suryakumar Yadav make strong cases for their inclusion in the middle-order.
★Hardik Pandya’s power hitting and Mukesh Kumar’s three-wicket burst contribute to India’s victory.
★The exclusion of Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel raises eyebrows.
★Tough decisions need to be made regarding the bowling department and middle-order batting positions.
★Ravindra Jadeja’s inclusion as the first-choice spinner seems inevitable.
★The fifth seamer’s spot and Ishan Kishan’s batting position pose challenges.
★India’s selectors and team management have limited opportunities left to finalize the squad.

India emerged triumphant over West Indies in the third ODI, sealing the series 2-1 in their favor. The match not only showcased the remarkable talents of several players but also raised pertinent questions about India’s team combination ahead of the upcoming Asia Cup and the highly anticipated World Cup on home soil.

Opting to provide World Cup hopefuls with ample opportunities, skipper Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli once again decided to sit out the match. While the result was convincing, India still appear to be far from achieving the ideal balance.

Shubman Gill, who had been relatively subdued during the Caribbean tour, finally found his groove in the third ODI, delivering a commanding 85 off 92 balls. His scintillating opening partnership of 143 runs with the in-form Ishan Kishan (77 off 64 balls) set the stage for India’s formidable total of 351 for 5 after being put into bat.

While the top-order exhibited their prowess, the middle-order also made strong cases for their inclusion. Sanju Samson’s composed innings of 51 off 41 balls showcased his talent as a reserve middle-order batter. His innings included four lusty sixes, demonstrating his ability to play glorious inside-out shots. However, consistency remains the key for Samson as he vies for the No. 4 slot in case of fitness concerns with Shreyas Iyer.

Suryakumar Yadav, another promising middle-order prospect, showcased his natural flair during his knock of 35. His ability to change gears effortlessly was evident in his pick-up shot for a six and a slashed six off Jayden Seals. However, he missed out on capitalizing on the opportunity to leave a lasting impression.

Skipper Hardik Pandya led from the front with a dazzling display of power hitting. His picturesque off-drive and a soaring straight six off Yannic Cariah left fans in awe. Accompanied by Suryakumar, the duo stitched together a crucial partnership of 65 runs in 8.1 overs for the fifth wicket. While Pandya’s innings of 70 not out showcased his undoubted talent, he’ll need to maintain such performances consistently to secure his place in the playing XI.

The West Indies’ pursuit of India’s mammoth target was shattered early in the innings, thanks to an incisive three-wicket burst by the impressive Mukesh Kumar during the first Powerplay. Shardul Thakur, Jaydev Unadkat, and Kuldeep Yadav also contributed significantly to the lopsided contest. However, the exclusion of Yuzvendra Chahal from the playing XI raised some eyebrows.

With the World Cup fast approaching, the selectors and team management will have to make tough calls, especially in the bowling department and middle-order batting positions. Ravindra Jadeja’s inclusion as the first-choice spinner seems inevitable, leaving little room for Axar Patel. Additionally, the fifth seamer’s spot and Ishan Kishan’s batting position pose challenges. Limited opportunities remain to finalize the squad and iron out any lingering issues.

(With inputs from PTI)

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