KANPUR, India – West Indies hope to mark the return of international matches to this city after four years with a monumental victory in the third One-day International against India on Wednesday at Green Park.
The Windies drew level in the three-match series with a two-wicket victory in the second ODI two days ago at the Reddy Stadium in Visakhapatnam, following a six-wicket defeat in the opener three days earlier at the Nehru Stadium in Kochi.
A win in this match would hand the visitors their first ODI series victory in a decade over the Indians or any side ranked higher in a bilateral series on foreign soil.
“Winning the last game gave us that self belief and the confidence that we can actually beat India in India,” said West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo on the eve of the match.
“For us as a team, we were just focussing on improving from our previous game, focussing on playing together as a team and trying to be more consistent.”
He added: “In the last five matches between the two teams, starting from the Champions Trophy last June in England, we’ve played India five times in ODIs, we’ve won two and lost three.
“So [this] is a very important game to get even and of course win the series, so we are looking forward to it.”
On what it would take to overcome India, Bravo said his side had to stick to their plans: “Before the last game, we had a very good team meeting. It was very interactive and we planned very well. In all our meetings, we formulate our plans. Most times, we fail to properly execute them on the field, but we did in the last game and they worked.
“I will remind the guys of the good things we did in that match and encourage them to have the same approach in the team meeting, the same attitude and encourage them to do the same things again.”
He said: “This will be a day game. It will be very hot and humid. We expect the Indian team to bounce back from a loss that obviously hurt them, so it’s not going to be easy and we never expected that it would be.
“For me, I will keep encouraging the guys and let them understand the importance of winning a series in India against the No.1 ODI team in the World. All I can ask of my guys is to be consistent and give another good showing of themselves to make our people proud.”
Four batsman – led by Darren Sammy with an unbeaten 63 – collected half-centuries in the second ODI to inch West Indies over the finish line. It was a huge improvement in their batting, but still no one carried on and made the first hundred of the trip.
Bravo said this was not a major concern, as long as each batsman made a contribution to the team’s success.
“It is good they are getting starts, some of us are not even getting that,” he said. “It is good for us that four of them got 50s and we had a few good partnerships to put us in a situation to win the last game.
“This was important, rather than one person carrying on, making a hundred and we are losing. Four or five batsmen getting half-centuries and putting the team in a position of strength so that we can win games, I will take that any day.”
Bravo, however, urged the young Windies batsmen to emulate the opposition’s batsmen in their desire to score heavily: “We have a very good relationship with the Indian team, not only their captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, but with Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin. We have learnt a lot from them.
“I encourage the young West Indies batsmen to learn from the Indian batsmen, particularly the hunger they have for runs. I want guys like Darren Bravo, Kieran Powell and Johnson Charles to learn from them because it’s a learning process for all of us.”
On the performance of Sammy, whose innings earned him the Man-of-the-Match award, Bravo said: “He is a big part of our team. The word that he should not be a part of our team is from the media and people outside the team. For me, he has an important role in the team, especially with likes of Kieron Pollard and Chris Gayle out. He is a main member in our set-up and for as long as he is playing.”
“He has been out of form and has been struggling, and it’s important for us as a team and for me, as captain, to give him support. We know what he has done for us previously, so it’s to continue to encourage him because he can be a match-winner on his day, like he showed in the last game.
“If we had listened to what had been said, we would have left him out of the last match and we would not have won the game. Sammy is very important to us. He also brings a positive vibe into the dressing room and I would always want someone like him around at all times.”
This will be the 13th ODI to be played at Green Park, where West Indies won a 1994 encounter against the Indians by 48 runs.