India and West Indies sit on different ends of the points table at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. India are third in the standings while West Indies are third from bottom and have slim chances of progressing. To do that, Windies need to win their remaining three matches and hope results elsewhere suit them.
For India, it is an opportunity to win and assure themselves of a place in the last-four. The convincing nature of wins thus far, except Afghanistan, puts Virat Kohli and the rest in with a strong chance of remaining unbeaten in the tournament.
These two teams played out a close series last year in India and we could see another close contest between two sets of teams which is well aware of the other. It also helps that many of them play in close proximity during the IPL.
A look at possible key player battles:
MS Dhoni vs Anyone
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's batting and slow approach was raised last year in India's tour of England. That was once again highlighted in India's slender win over Afghanistan. With India losing wickets earlier in comparison to the previous matches, Dhoni had more time in the middle. Against Afghanistan, Dhoni could only muster 28 runs but it came at a cost of 52 balls.
An idea the team management can employ is to send Dhoni further down the order and give Kedar Jadhav more time with the bat.
If MSD of India's 50-over setup meets MSD of Chennai Super Kings, then it could be trouble for West Indies' death overs - it doesn't really matter who is running down to bowl.
Chris Gayle vs Jasprit Bumrah
Chris Gayle's ability to hit and hit big is unquestionable. During his long tenure in the Indian Premier League, Indian bowlers have become accustomed to seeing him go hammer and tongs. But they're also aware of how to get rid of him or at least keep him quiet.
That job would be given to India's seam department and most certainly Jasprit Bumrah. Rather surprisingly, Bumrah has never bowled to Gayle in 50 over cricket but they have squared off in the T20 format.
Gayle holds the advantage in their head-to-head with 30 runs from 40 balls faced in the IPL without ever being dismissed by the Indian pacer. The seamer has struck once in a T20I to get rid of Gayle.
Rohit Sharma vs Kemar Roach
Rohit Sharma has been among the runs for India for most part of the last year. That strong run has continued at the World Cup until that blip against Afghanistan which saw him walk back after scoring just one.
He would be eager to get back to scoring and providing the team with a strong start alongside KL Rahul.
Against West Indies, he may have an interesting contest with Kemar Roach. The fast-bowler has bowled 202 balls to Rohit out of which 121 have been dots. In the remaining deliveries, Rohit has scored 171 runs. Roach has sent Rohit back to the pavilion twice in ODIs.
Virat Kohli vs Jason Holder
Captain vs captain could be an incredibly interesting showdown at Old Trafford. The duo would be well aware of each others' abilities. For Holder, it would be essential to get rid of Kohli early. Allow him to settle down and Kohli may be hard to get rid of.
Kohli hasn't struck a century in the tournament but has three straight fifties coming into the fixture. He has 244 runs from four matches and would be eager to provide India with the usual lift in the middle overs.
Historically Holder has been expensive against Kohli - conceding 143 runs from 173 balls - but more importantly, he has sent the Indian skipper packing thrice.
Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav vs West Indies' middle order
India's wrist bowlers Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav would be tasked with keeping the flow of runs down during the middle overs. If needed, they could be employed earlier into the Windies innings to get crucial wickets - something both have displayed on numerous instances.
Historically, Kuldeep has a better record against the West Indies. He's picked up 17 wickets against them from 72 overs with best figures of 3/41. He has gone on to take 3 wickets on four occasions while proving to be miserly at 4.65 runs an over.
Chahal, on the other, has played just three ODIs against the Windies and picked five wickets including a 3/41 in Guwahati in October 2018. His next outing, however, was an expensive affair with just a wicket to show, conceding 63 runs from his quota of overs.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Before the opening match between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, let's take a look at a few eye-catching statistics
Rohit's defending champions Mumbai Indians will be locking horns with Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings in what is likely to be a fittingly exciting opening showdown in Abu Dhabi.
Royal Challengers Bangalore would be looking to address their pace-bowling concerns when they face defending champions Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League on Monday.