West Indies defeated England by 21 runs in the only T20 between the two teams. Switching formats, they are now set to play five ODIs, starting Tuesday at Old Trafford, Manchester.
England desperately missed Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali in the last match when they were reduced to 118-5. Luckily for them, both return for the ODI series after a well-deserved rest.
The man of the match from the T20, Sunil Narine, will not be available for the ODI series. The West Indies have plenty of firepower to make up for it, setting up the series to be an interesting one.
Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes
Jason Holder(c), Jason Mohammed, Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Miguel Cummins, Chris Gayle, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Kesrick Williams
Where the Teams Stand
One of the biggest fears for England in the T20 was its brittle middle order. Thankfully, the return of Moeen and Stokes greatly strengthens their batting lineup. Hales continued his batting form from the domestic circuit to score 43 in 17 balls. His explosiveness at the top is a handy weapon in Morgan’s arsenal. Followed by Root at 3, Morgan at 4, Stokes at 5 or 6, Buttler at the other position, and Ali at 7, the batting lineup suddenly looks potent and dangerous for the West Indies.
Who will the two incoming players replace? Curran and Rashid seem the most likely. Curran was expensive with the ball, finishing with 1-46 in four overs. Rashid was the best bowler of the night for England, ending with 3-25 in his quota. However, Morgan is unlikely to play 2 spinners in the team despite the success he enjoyed.
In case he rewards Rashid for his performance, Chris Jordan is the next most likely to be replaced after he earned the same figures as Curran. It remains to be seen if Morgan plays both Bairstow and Buttler. Replacing one means he gets to play an extra bowler, and if the T20 was any sign, he will need it on Tuesday.
England must bowl first if they win the toss on Tuesday. Their batting can now chase anything that the Windies can throw at them. Their bowling was expensive in the last match and there’s no telling how many they will go for this time despite Stokes and Ali returning. It may not have worked in the last match, but this time they will be much better prepared for the challenge.
The Windies arguably have the best opening combination in world cricket today. Gayle and Lewis are an existential threat to any bowling attack, and they proved it in the last match with strike rates of 190 and 182, scoring 40 and 51 respectively. They will be key to the Windies’ success in the upcoming series.
Their middle order misfired, except for Rovman Powell, but Shai Hope will most likely replace Chadwick Walton, and Blackwood will come in for Brathwaite. Hope was exceptional in the Test series against England and the ODI series against India before that, and his inclusion only makes the batting lineup stronger. Blackwood is a player similar in mould to Brathwaite, only better. Add Pollard and Samuels, and the Windies arguably still have the better batting lineup of the two teams.
Devendra Bishoo will most likely be the one to replace Sunil Narine, who has returned home after the T20. Jason Holder will also replace Ashley Nurse to captain and give the West Indies the extra pacer, with Brathwaite not in the ODI squad. Kesrick Williams bowled well in the T20, amassing figures of 3-35 in four overs. Taylor was expensive with 1-40 in three. Two main wicket takers from the last match will not be playing the ODI, making things a little uncertain for the Windies. Holder, Williams and Jerome will have to make up for the loss if their side wants to win on Tuesday.
It’s sort of do or die situation for the Windies, given that their direct 2019 World Cup qualification hopes rest on their winning the ODI series 5-0. An almost impossible feat, but Holder and company will surely attempt it, anyway.
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