Just when you think that the West Indies could not play worse, they do. Falling to a 124 run loss in the third ODI, they conceded 369 runs in the first innings as Moeen Ali scored the second fastest century by an English batsman. They then managed only 245 themselves to lose another match on English soil
Morgan will be thrilled with his team’s performance, his side seemingly invincible against a hapless West Indies who don’t look like even coming close to putting England under any pressure.
All said and done, this is what all of us thought after the first Test before Shai Hope exploded onto the stage. Will we see a similar miracle again?
Liam Plunkett, Eoin Morgan (c), Adil Rashid, Jos Buttler (wk), Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Jake Ball, Tom Curran
Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Devendra Bishoo, Ashley Nurse, Jason Mohammed, Jason Holder (c), Evin Lewis, Miguel Cummins, Shai Hope (wk), Rovman Powell, Sunil Ambris, Alzarri Joseph, Kesrick Williams, Kyle Hope
Where the Teams Stand
The home side has been efficient with the bat and ball. Bairstow and Ali played big innings’ to establish their side’s dominance, supported by a myriad of others in their quest. Morgan’s form is a troubling sign, masked only by the brilliance of his teammates. He has scored an aggregate of 13 runs in two ODIs and a T20. You ideally want your captain amongst the scorers, and Root/Stokes will not perform in every match.
Given the ease with which England have been winning, it might not be a bad idea to give the three benchers a game or two to prove themselves. Willey has been ordinary in the last three matches, and either of Jake Ball or Tom Curran might replace him. The rest of the bowling attack, however, has been very effective. Rashid had another great game, picking up 3 more wickets to take his tally to 8 wickets from three games. Plunkett took a five-wicket haul in the third game, making it 8 in three.
Chris Woakes has taken 2 in two games, both of them in the first game. His economy in the two games has been decent. Moeen Ali has been a huge asset with the ball recently for England, not so much in the ODI series so far, but definitely in the Test series’ against South Africa and West Indies. Stokes took three in the last match, none in the second, but again, he has been of immeasurable value to the side as an all-rounder.
England’s form makes the fourth ODI a veritable internationally broadcasted practice session, bar complacency or divine intervention. They have an enviable balance to their side, with three great all-rounders, a well-rounded batting lineup, and a consistent bowling attack. I can’t imagine them going wrong.
Where the home side have been clinical, the visitors have been simply atrocious. They were bowled out within 40 overs into their chase, with nobody except Chris Gayle passing 40 runs, only the second batsman from their team to do it in two games.
Before the series, Evin Lewis boasted of his ability to hit sixes. Two games have seen two sixes and an aggregate of 24 from him. Marlon Samuels managed a strike rate of 100(scored 11) this time, after a strike rate in the thirties last time from over 40 deliveries. Jason Holder might as well come one-down and do all the batting for the Windies. After Gayle, he has looked the most comfortable against the English bowling, being forced to save the team from humiliation after middle order collapses.
In both the matches, only one bowler has had an economy of below 6. In the third match, both the top wicket-takers were also the most expensive. To be fair, they had England in a fix at 74-3, but then Stokes and Root took the game away from them, and Ali rung the death knell. On another day, they could have capitalised on the start, but England still reached 369 due to some ordinary bowling, especially to Ali.
They kept bowling the short of good length delivery to him slightly outside off stump, and he was more than happy to keep slamming it over mid-wicket. He went from 50 to 100 in just 12 balls. Inexperience is hurting the West Indies in a major way, and this is not something they have a solution for. Taylor and Holder need to do well if the bowling is to improve, the former more so than the latter.
No matter what they do, the Windies seem doomed to failure. As has been mentioned repeatedly, one can only hope for a miracle come Wednesday.
England win comfortably.
Can England extend their series lead, or will the West Indies pull off an upset? Let us know in the comments below.
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