All To Play For In Crunch Match

	 All To Play For In Crunch Match
All To Play For In Crunch Match
©REUTERS / Action Images

With the series poised at 1-1, both teams will go into today's match at St Lucia with all to play for.

Chris Gayle's West Indies will have been buoyed by the manner in which they brushed India aside in the last One Day International in Jamaica where they beat the tourists convincingly by eight wickets. Gayle believes that this, the third match of a four match series, will be the crunch match for both teams:

"Whichever team wins tomorrow cannot lose the Digicel Series so it is a very important game."

The West Indies, whose squad remains the same for the final two ODI's despite hopes that Fidel Edwards would return from injury, will welcome the kind of performances that were showed by Runako Morton and captain Gayle in the previous match. The pair put on 101 for the opening wicket in Jamaica with Morton unbeaten on 85 when the Windies reacehd their target. Gayle is expecting a lot of runs from the St Lucia pitch and it will need hefty contributions from the likes of Morton in order to make the big runs that Gayle wants.

"It will be a good competitive game, similar to the First Digicel ODI at Sabina Park. St Lucia is always a good wicket and I expect a lot of runs to be scored on this wicket.

“Morton is a very determined player. He might look ugly (when he bats) but Runako is the sort of player to always be among the runs, he’s a steady batter."

India's form, on the other hand, has dipped from the first match, and they looked a shadow of the team that has shone over the past year or so. A weak and, what some might call, lazy performance in the second ODI has put major thoughts of burn-out into the minds of the Indian public, and captain MS Dhoni is under severe pressure to lead his team to victory, otherwise he could face losing his captaincy of the team.

The Indians wil be looking for a much improved performance today and that may have to come in the form of changes to the team. India are becoming more and more reliant on Yuvraj Singh to score the big runs required to win matches and the rest of the batting line-up will have to knuckle down in order to support the left hander. The young inexperienced batters, such as Rohit Sharma and Dinesh Karthik will need some brilliant performances if they are dreaming of keeping their places in the team when the likes of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar return from injury.

This match will be the turning point for both teams. A win for the West Indies could see them go on bigger and better things from the cinfidence gained with a series win over India, but a loss could see them go back to square one, after the progress they have made over ecent months. However a win for India will see the spotlight taken off Dhoni for a while back home in India but a loss could spell the end of his captaincy.

Peter Exley
© Cricket World 2009