India and West Indies are teams packed with some major stars, and when these two sides feature in the highly-entertaining T20 format, it is going to be a brilliant contest. Both the teams are set for the first T20, which will be played at Central Broward Regional Park and Stadium in Lauderhill, Florida, on Saturday.
The arrangements in the U.S. have been brilliant, and India's coach Anil Kumble is impressed with the facilities provided in the stadium to the players. The venue has already hosted six Caribbean Premier League matches, so some of the West Indies players might have even played a match in this ground, while India are making their U.S. debut.
India played West Indies in the Test series, but both teams have undergone some changes for the T20 series. India will be led by MS Dhoni, who will be playing his first match after the Zimbabwe series. So the skipper comes fresh into the series, and will hope for a good performance from his boys in the US.
This will also be the first time Dhoni will play under new coach Anil Kumble, but the duo know one another well from their playing days. It remains to be seen the partnership Dhoni forms with Kumble, which is going to be important for Team India for the next couple of years.
The coach is pleased with the initiative of playing cricket in the U.S., and he hopes that the crowd will be able to witness a wonderful game of cricket. One expects good support for both sides, but there are growing fears of rain in the first T20, which could be disappointing.
"It's a wonderful initiative and we are really looking forward to our matches here, it's going to be a sell out. We know US...the expats and the huge Indian diaspora who are wanting for quality cricket to come to the US. We have played in the past in the West Indies and a lot of Indians come over form the US to watch us," ESPN Cricinfo quoted Kumble as saying.
"So this is a great opportunity for all of them and I'm sure this is the start of a new beginning in the United States and I'm sure there will be a lot more of the Indian team in the US going forward."
Besides the entertainment factor, Kumble will hope to see India start the two-match series on a winning note. India have the squad to defeat any team in the world, and with players like Virat Kohli, Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, they have a brilliant batting order.
With the likes of Ajinkya Rahane and KL Rahul doing good for India, players like Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh, despite their quality, might not be missed.
However, it is the bowling, which needs to be on top of their game against West Indies, who have powerful hitters of a cricket ball. Right from the top order comprising Chris Gayle to number nine batsman captain Carlos Brathwaite, they have some dangerous players, who can change the course of the game in a matter of overs.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah have been India's key bowler, and the duo needs to dismiss the West Indies batsmen for cheap, else they can destroy India. Besides Gayle, Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo can use their all-round skills to make life difficult for India.
West Indies lacked experienced players in the Test series against India, but with senior pros coming into the T20 format, they look a brilliant side. Coach Phil Simmons is also pleased with the big guns featuring in the T20 side.
"It's good to have all the senior guys back and they make things easy for me because it's a case of them doing all the work and they know this format inside out. We always had the team to beat in T20 cricket so from that point of view we've got a lot better and all the guys are loving playing it. But it's a stepping-stone to one-day cricket too." Simmons said.
Where to watch India vs West Indies 1st T20 live
India vs West Indies 1st T20 is schedule for 10 a.m local time (7:30 p.m IST) start. Here is the live TV and streaming options.
India: TV: Star Sports 1/HD, Star Sports 3/HD. Live streaming: starsports.com
USA, Canada and the Caribbean: TV: Yupp TV. Live streaming: yupptv.com