India take on the West Indies in the sixth game of the Champions Trophy 2013 at the Oval on Tuesday.
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Both teams began their tournament with wins. India (4/6 at SkyBet
) were punishing winners over South Africa while West Indies (11/8 at bet365
) edged out Pakistan in a remarkably close game. A win for either team here will almost ensure qualification for the semi-finals, which makes this a vital encounter.
India's batting has been in excellent form. They have piled on more than 300 on all three occasions in the series so far - twice in the warm-ups and now once in the game against South Africa. It was Shikhar Dhawan's century and his superb opening stand with Rohit Sharma that propelled them to an excellent start in the South Africa game.
What made it a perfect ending was Ravindra Jadeja and MS Dhoni's pummelling towards the end of the innings against a bowling attack that lacked edge.
Then the Indian quick bowlers went for a few runs with each of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma conceding at least seven an over in their spells. Interestingly though, they grabbed a couple of wickets each as well to pull the game back in their favour.
Unless there are last minute injuries, it's difficult to see the Indians make any change to the line-up.
West Indies were propped up by a fiery spell of bowling from Kemar Roach who reduced Pakistan to 15/3 at the start of their innings. Sunil Narine added three more to his name as Pakistan failed to take off and were bowled out for 170.
Then Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels scored cautious 30s and despite a late-order collapse, Denesh Ramdin saw the side through to a win.
Gayle will continue to remain a danger man and having played a lot of cricket against the Indian bowlers in the IPL, he will know how to handle them. The one other advantage West Indies have is that they played their first game at the Oval and would have gauged the pitch by now.
As compared to the difficult wicket at the Oval, India's batsmen are yet to encounter bowling-friendly pitches and that will make it tough for them in case the track turns out to be a difficult one. On paper though, India should be the favourites here.
The India v West Indies Champions Trophy 2013 game will begin at 10.30 am local time.