Considering how dominant India has been over the last couple of years in ODI cricket, it is hard to believe that the Virat Kohli-led Indian team has suffered four home ODI losses in a row. Remember, they were leading their last home series – against Australia earlier this year – 2-0 when the visiting side registered a great comeback to win the next three matches.
Now, West Indies made easy work of a 280+ target to give India their fourth consecutive loss in an ODI played in India. Now, will it be five in a row? There is no reason to think that it is an impossibility. The ability that West Indies showed in the first ODI suggests that they are more than capable of defeating India more than once in this series.
But India are still the favourites. Their biggest weapon is their top-order. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are modern-day greats in ODI cricket. It's very rare that both these batsmen fail to make a mark in an ODI. In the second match of the series, powered by the desperation to save the series, they are very likely to come good.
But going by the first ODI, a score of around 300 may not be enough. So, a hundred by Kohli or Rohit may not be enough. Let's remember that last year, it was on this very ground, at Vizag, that India scored 321 thanks to Virat Kohli's 157* and ended up having only a tie in the result.
So, India will need their middle order and lower order to fire as well. They can be optimistic on this front as both Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer showed good form in the first ODI. The real challenge would be to see off the new ball as Sheldon Cottrell has become a very capable wicket taker in the first 10 overs.
What if India bat second instead of first? This would be very interesting as, in the last few years, due to Virat's incredible record while chasing, India have been exceptional as a chasing side. However, in the last year, India's ability to chase seems to have gone down. This is partly because of over-reliance on Virat and partly because chasing in pressure situations is more difficult.
So, if India chase a big score while having the series on the line, it's not going to be as easy as before. West Indies' bowling attack may not be as dangerous as that of some other teams but they do have some canny bowlers who can use variations of pace to trouble the batsmen. So, hold your breath and wait for an exciting match of cricket.