After winning the five-match ODI series 3-1, India will certainly have an upperhand despite the presence of Gayle, who can single-handedly swing fortunes especially in the shortest format.
Here are the key player battles to watch out for that could decide the match -
1. Shikhar Dhawan vs Jerome Taylor
Shikhar Dhawan started the ODI series against West Indies with a bang but then he fizzed out in the last three matches. This will be an excellent opportunity for the southpaw to once again show what he can do in the shortest format of the game. And the task to stop the Indian opener will lie with Windies Taylor Jerome Tyalor.
Taylor has troubled Dhawan in the 50-over format in the past and he could once again give the perfect start to the hosts but getting rid of the southpaw. Dhawan has faced 31 deliveries from Taylor in ODIs previously and he has only scored 31 runs. While Dhawan has also been dismissed twice by the Windies pacer.
2. Virat Kohli vs Sunil Narine
Virat Kohli might opt to open the innings to give the line-up more balance and if that happens, expect spin king Sunil Narine to bowl with the new ball. In T20Is, the the duo haven't faced each other much but its the Indian Premier League where the two stars have come up against each other a lot.
Narine has bowled 53 deliveries for Kohli in the IPL and the RCB skipper has hit 57 runs off it. However, its the two dismissals of Kohli that Narine has affected in the cash-rich league that will give the spinner confidence when he comes up against the Indian skipper tonight.
3. Chris Gayle vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar
West Indies has become a strong contender to win the one-off T20I just because there will be Chris Gayle in the line-up. The southpaw has the capability to bat out any opposition from the match and if the Indian bowlers don't remove him early in the innings, they will surely pay for it.
The task to cut short Gayle's innings will lie with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who showed in the IPL-10 that he is one of the best bowlers in the shortest format of the game by clinching the . Bhuvi has bowled 70 deliveries to Gayle in the cash-rich league and the Windies opener has hit 104 runs off it. Meanwhile, the Indian pacer will take heart from the fact that he has dismissed Gayle once in the league.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Yuvraj Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Dinesh Karthik, Mohammed Shami.
West Indies: Carlos Brathwaite (capt), Samuel Badree, Ronsford Beaton, Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Chadwick Walton (wk), Kesrick Williams.
First Published: July 9, 2017, 5:58 PM IST