Windies look to hit back

Published: Sunday | June 28, 2009

Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer

West Indies players (from left) Denesh Ramdin, Dwayne Bravo and Narsingh Deonarine celebrating the fall of an Indian wicket in the first One-day International at Sabina Park on Friday. - Ian Allen/Staff Photographer

THE West Indies, losers by 20 runs in the opening One-day International, will be looking to level the four-match series when the teams square off in the second game at Sabina Park today.

Middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh set up India's win on Friday with a breathtaking 102-ball 131.

In what was a run feast, which produced the fourth highest number of sixes in ODI history and the highest number of sixes for an ODI in the Caribbean, India first scored 339-6 off their allotted 50 overs, with Singh recording the second highest ODI individual score at Sabina Park, which surpassed that of Imran Nazir, who made 160 at the ICC World Cup here two year's ago.

The West Indies, in their reply, in a spirited all-round batting effort, made 319 off 48.1 overs.

"Chasing such a huge total we were always up against it. But it was a good effort, nonetheless. We will just have to refocus and come again Sunday and look to square the series," said West Indies captain Chris Gayle after match.

small crowd

For today's encounter, both teams are expected to make no changes to the sides which treated a surprisingly small Sabina Park crowd on Friday to some entertaining cricket.

If there are to be any changes, it is more than likely to be on the part of the West Indies, whose bowlers were hit to all parts of the ground by Singh, opener Dinesh Karthik, who made 67, and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who chipped in with 41.

Trinidadian fast-bowler, Ravi Rampaul, who alongside batsman Narsingh Deonarine, were left out of the West Indies 13-man squad for the first duel, could very well make a return to One-day Internationals ahead of 24-year-old pacer Lionel Baker, who in taking 1-62 off nine overs, failed to trouble the visitors.

Rampaul, who has been plagued by injuries since breaking onto the scene in 2003, was a member of the West Indies ODI squad which went down 2-0 to home team England two months ago.

India one up

India also appear to have a few problems.

"It's good to be one up but we still have a lot to do to win the series. We just have to keep taking things one match at a time," said Dhoni.

That said, the match should provide another opportunity for 20- year-old Trinidadian middle-order batsman, Darren Bravo - the younger brother of Dwayne Bravo - and Jamaican all-rounder David Bernard Jr, who both had average returns on Friday, to prove their worth in front of what should be an improved gathering of flag-waving and horn-tooting supporters.

The third and fourth ODIs will be played in St Lucia later this week.

West Indies (likely): Chris Gayle (capt), Runako Morton, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Jerome Taylor, David Bernard, Suleiman Benn, Lionel Baker/Ravi Rampaul.

India (likely): Gautam Gambhir, Dinesh Karthik, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, M.S. Dhoni (capt & wk), Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, R.P. Singh, Ashish Nehra.