England vs West Indies – T2O Squads, Preview, and Predictions

Having revamped their teams from the Test series, England and West Indies are set to face each other in a one-off T2O. Can England continue their dominance?


Overview

England may have won the Test series against a depleted West Indies 2-1, but the visitors are going all out for the shorter formats. They have recalled their biggest stars to play the lone T20 and five ODIs, which is good news for everyone except England. 

West Indies aren’t the only one with an overhauled squad for the T20. England have retained only three players from their Test squad, Root, Malan, and Bairstow. Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes have been rested for the match.

Before the visitors begin their optimistic bid to qualify for the 2019 World Cup by attempting to whitewash the English, they will not want to dent whatever little hope they have by losing in the T20. What can one expect from the two teams?

Squads

England

Eoin Morgan(c), Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, David Willey

West Indies

Carlos Brathwaite(c), Ronsford Beaton, Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels, Ashley Nurse, Jerome Taylor, Chadwick Walton, Kesrick Williams

Where the Teams Stand 

England

For the first time this series, the home side arguably have the weaker batting lineup of the two teams. Alex Hales has been in brilliant form domestically, and Joe Root had an outstanding Test series, but question marks remain over the rest of the lineup. Morgan can be inconsistent but will produce match winning innings’ regularly enough.

Roy averages only 20 in T20s, while Malan has played only one T20I so far, where he scored 78 from 44. England need their batsmen to fulfil the potential they possess. Each of them can single-handedly take the game away from the opposition on their day, and they need at least one of them to do just that. 

In terms of bowling, the two sides are evenly matched. Jake Ball and David Willey are exciting talents with the ball. The former is yet to make his T20 debut, but the latter has been amongst the wickets regularly, albeit with a high economy rate(8.6). Adil Rashid has a useful knack for taking wickets and has been excellent in the domestic circuit recently. Chris Jordan is another who has been very successful domestically, taking 15 wickets in his last 7 innings as a bowler. Plunkett is another option in the pace department if Morgan wants to play four seamers. Liam Dawson missed the Test series, but with Ali rested, he might well get a chance.

England must bowl first if they win the toss on Saturday, given the explosiveness in the ranks of the West Indies. Their bowling is the stronger of the two departments, and Morgan must rely on his bowlers to ensure that the batsmen don’t have to chase too many in the second innings. 

West Indies

The Caribbean fans in England should be a happy lot. Their team possesses one of the most fearsome batting lineups in T20 cricket, boasting names such as Gayle, Lewis, Samuels, Pollard, and Brathwaite, the same batsman who snatched World Cup glory from England by hitting Stokes for 4 sixes in 4 balls.

One shudders to think what these 5 and Narine could do to a bowling attack when on song. Sunil proved his proficiency with the bat during his IPL stint with the Kolkata Knight Riders where he was given license to attack at the top of the order. He is unlikely to open with Lewis and Gayle in the team, but he can still swing his bat if required. That he equals the record for the fastest fifty in the IPL ever only proves his quality. 

Speaking of Narine, his contribution with the ball is something the Windies need far more than his batting skills. The spinner is almost always amongst the wickets, at a cheap rate which averages approximately 6 an over. Jerome Taylor, Kesrick Williams, Ronsford Beaton, and Braithwaite/Pollard/Gayle are the other bowlers in the team.

This is excluding Ashley Nurse, who is unlikely to play unless Brathwaite goes in with two spinners, which would be surplus to requirements on an English pitch. Kesrick has a good record in T20Is. He has taken 16 wickets in 9 matches. Taylor is a veteran of West Indian cricket and the spearhead of the attack. He will be another crucial component of the bowling lineup. Beaton is yet to make his debut, so it remains to be seen how he will perform. 

West Indies have the better side of the two, but like England, they need it to reflect on the pitch come Saturday. 

Prediction

West Indies win. 

Who will come out on top in this Twenty20 between England and the West Indies? Let us know in the comments below.

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Abhay Almal

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Just another fan of the gentleman's game with a quill and some ink, Abhay is a high school graduate who has spent a decade playing cricket on district and higher levels of the sport. Combining his passion for writing and playing led to him pursuing sports journalism as he prepares to major in Psychology.

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