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breaking news Pant, Kohli’s absence could pave the way for Gaikwad and Iyer

India are reportedly aiming for another 3-0 series win over West Indies when the two sides lock horns in the third and final T20I at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. India enjoy an unassailable 2-0 series lead after winning the second game by 8 points. Earlier this month, India recorded a 3-0 victory over West Indies in the three-game ODI series played in Ahmedabad.

India will be forced to make changes to their playing XI as former skipper Virat Kohli and wicket-keeper striker Rishabh Pant will not be available for selection. On the eve of the third game, Indian team selection committee chairman Chetan Sharma announced that both players had been allowed to take a short break and leave the team’s bio-bubble. In Pant’s absence, wicket-keeper duties would fall to Ishan Kishan. The two vacant spots in the playing XI should go to the batters – Shreyas Iyer and Ruturaj Gaikwad – unless Rohit Sharma decides to go for additional bowling options. It would also be interesting to note if the team continues with Kishan at the top of the list. Kishan struggled to give the team quick starts. In this scenario, Gaikwad could come out to open the innings with the Indian captain.

The Indian bowlers were good in both games. Legspinner Ravi Bishnoi impressed on his T20I debut in the opener as he picked out two wickets and walked away with the player of the match trophy. His compatriot Yuzvendra Chahal chose the wicket of West Indies fly-half Kyle Mayers in both matches, robbing the visitors of a long partnership at the top of the list. The penultimate knocked down by Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the second game turned the tie in favor of India. In the same game, Rovman Powell hit Harshal Patel for two sixes in the final over. But Patel kept his composure under pressure to lead India to victory. The bowling department is not calling for any changes. But with the series in hand, the likes of Mohammed Siraj, Avesh Khan, Shardul Thakur and Kuldeep Yadav might stand a chance.

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There will be despair in the West Indian camp. The team nearly won the second T20I, thanks to the pyrotechnics of Powell and Nicholas Pooran. Big hits aside, the two couldn’t put the finishing touches on the chase. Both hitters have been in great shape in the T20s recently and their form gives the team hope. Another bright spot in an otherwise nonchalant spectacle is the versatile Roston Chase’s form with the ball. Chase with his offspin picked 5 wickets in two matches. Chase picked the wicket of Sharma twice and also represented the wickets of Kohli, Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav. The form of fly-half Brandon King will be a source of concern for the team. King went on just 4 in Game 1 and scored just 22 of 30 in a tough chase. The likes of Darren Bravo, Shai Hope, Domnic Drakes and Hayden Walsh Jr. warmed up the bench in the first two games. With the team keen to end the tour with a win, these players might have a chance.

(Edited by : Bivekananda Biswas)


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