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West Indies bank on batting firepower against unbeaten India
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West Indies bank on batting firepower against unbeaten India

West Indies head into the match against India at Old Trafford at the back of a heartbreaking 5-run loss versus New Zealand, an encounter that could have livened up their chances of making it through the semi-finals.

Although West Indies look all but out of the tournament already, there still remains a glimmer of hope of advancing into the knockout stages depending on a fair number of results going in their favour.

Nevertheless, Jason Holder's men will be holding their heads up high to put up a fighting performance against India and intimidate their opponents to finish their World Cup campaign on a positive note.

West Indies showed a lot of promise with their thumping win against Pakistan at Trent Bridge before giving Australia a scare and falling short by just 15 runs.

Since then, the West Indies have often looked out of sorts and unable to piece together the missing links in their line-up as the batting and bowling has usually been found guilty for approaching the game with a rigid mindset.

"We've shown glimpses here and there of what we can produce. And as a side we just haven't brought it together collectively more often than not," Holder told reporters on the eve of the clash.

India also had a close run-in with a spirited Afghanistan side in their previous match at the Rose Bowl.

Just managing to hold their fort, India emerged triumphant in the battle of nerves while defending the small target of 225 as Mohammed Shami's last over hat-trick maintained their unbeaten streak in the World Cup.

India's bench strength has been remarkable since they have found apt replacements to fill in for players suffering from injury niggles.

They could possibly choose to go in with an additional spinner in Ravindra Jadeja to tame the West Indies' batting that generally feeds on pace bowling.

India's wobbly middle order

India's fragility in the middle order was exposed to an extent against bottom-ranked Afghanistan.

With KL Rahul being promoted up the order to make up for Shikhar Dhawan's absence leaving the inexperienced Vijay Shankar to take control of the no.4 position, this could make a case for the West Indies to target test their batting depth.

Moreover, MS Dhoni looked a shadow of his former self during the Southampton game as he failed to find timing during his painful 52-ball stay the crease which yielded him just 28 runs.

Cottrell's new ball heroics

Much of the talk surrounding the West Indies fast bowling attack has been around their searing pace and short ball tactics but Sheldon Cottrell is defying the reductive narrative with perfect seaming deliveries beating the batsmen at gentle speeds in the range of 130-135 kph.

Cottrell, known for his 'salute celebration' every time he gets a wicket, dismissed New Zealand's opening pair for golden ducks during Saturday's game.

Being able to pitch the ball fuller and maintain consistent lines, the left-arm pacer poses a genuine threat to any batting side in the world.

Squads

West Indies: Jason Holder (c), Chris Gayle, Kemar Roach, Darren Bravo, Sunil Ambris, Shai Hope, Sheldon Cottrell, Evin Lewis, Shannon Gabriel, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Shimron Hetmyer, Fabian Allen, Oshane Thomas, Nicholas Pooran

India: Virat Kohli (c), Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, MS Dhoni (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Vijay Shankar, Rohit Sharma, Kuldeep Yadav