India will be playing their first competitive match in the USA, and the crowd is expected to pour out in numbers as MS Dhoni's men face West Indies in the first T20 at Central Broward Regional Park and Stadium in Lauderhill, Florida, on Saturday. The two-match series is expected to be a close affair.
The T20 format has always been interesting, where the team composition matters a lot. Both teams will pick their strongest XI for the first T20 to start with a win, which will give them a chance of winning the series as well.
India have always been a strong T20 side, and what makes them a quality side is the core of their team, which almost remains the same in all formats. However, the biggest change is the captaincy as Dhoni captains the limited-overs side, and Virat Kohli leads India in Test cricket.
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan should open the batting, and the pair have been good in this format with their aggressive approach. Kohli, India's run-machine, will bat at number three. With players like Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina not featuring in the squad, it opens the door for Ajinkya Rahane and KL Rahul, the latter being one of the consistent IPL 2016 players, to make an impression.
Ravindra Jadeja will play the all-rounder's role, and Ravichandran Ashwin is India's key spinner. Jasprit Bumrah, who has been India's best T20 bowler, will lead the attack alongside Mohammed Shami. It remains to be seem if the team decides to go with an additional spinner or medium-pacer. Depending on the track, Amit Mishra or Stuart Binny might get a look in.
Coming to West Indies' team, they have a different T20 team, compared to the Test side, which lost to India recently. They always look a quality side in the shorter format, and with Chris Gayle in the opening slot, they always are a huge threat. They have good players in the form of Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons and Dwayne Bravo in the middle order.
But it is the firepower in the lower-middle order for West Indies, where the Caribbean team will have a huge edge over India. They have some incredible firepower in the form of Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard and Carlos Brathwaite, who can win matches from impossible situations with both the bat and ball.
Add to this, spinners like Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree, the world champions will not make life any easy for India in the first T20 in Florida.
The game has all the ingredients of a brilliant match, but there are threats of rain, which could play spoilsport in the U.S.
Playing XI: India - RG Sharma, L Rahul, V Kohli, A Rahane, MS Dhoni, S Binny, R Ashwin, R Jadeja, M Shami, J Bumrah, B Kumar
West Indies - J Charles, A Fletcher, E Lewis, M Samuels, L Simmons, K Pollard, A Russell, DJ Bravo, C Brathwaite, S Narine, S Badree