Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Old rivals aim for strong start in vicious Group. England and West Indies have the highest boundary percentages in T20I cricket since July 2019.
England and West Indies have the highest boundary percentages in T20I cricket since July 2019.
It has been five and half years since West Indies and England played that momentous final of the 2016 T20 WC in Kolkata. It is often said that T20 matches fade quickly from memory but that is one 20-over game that never will. The final over, Carlos Brathwaite, Ben Stokes, four consecutive sixes, Ian Bishop's brilliant ‘Remember the name' commentary. “It was one of the most incredible sporting events that you'll ever watch,” Eoin Morgan said earlier this week.
It is fitting then that the two teams will meet on the opening day of the Super 12 stage in this year's tournament. There are some of the same faces from that 2016 final – possibly as many as 11 across both teams – but some new ones as well. What has not changed is the T20 pedigree of both countries. England and West Indies are two of the strongest teams at this tournament. It would be no surprise if they both ended up in the final this time around too.
First, they both have to get out of the group, of course. With Bangladesh and Sri Lanka having qualified from the First Round, Group 1 has a decidedly vicious feel about it. Although Morgan has said that the longer group stage of five matches reduces the pressure on teams a little because they have time to recover from a defeat, the presence of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka means that no side in Group 1 can afford a slow start. An opening match victory is crucial for both England and West Indies.
The men from the Caribbean may have disappointed in their two warm-up games, losing to both Pakistan and Afghanistan, but they have never lost a T20 WC game to England in their five encounters. Although a number of their batsmen have been in shaky form of late, there is no doubting their explosive potential and depth, with Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell providing middle order ballast. The West Indies will certainly not fear England's attack, one that has been weakened by the unavailability of Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes and Sam Curran.
England had a better time of things in their own warm-up matches, beating New Zealand and pushing India hard. The absence of Archer, Curran and Stokes is a blow though – all three would likely have been in their first-choice XI – but the batting retains an imposing feel. The opening partnership between Jos Buttler and Jason Roy holds the key, particularly given the importance of scoring as many runs in the Powerplay before the ball gets softer and the slower pitches make run-scoring harder. West Indies do not have a great recent record with the ball in the Powerplay so it is likely to be an important battle.
When: England v West Indies, Super 12 Group 1, 18:00 Local, 19:30 IST
Where: Dubai International Stadium
What to expect: Dew is likely to play a role in the second innings – so much so that England's bowlers have been training with balls dipped in buckets of water – and teams who batted second in the recently concluded IPL won nine of the 13 matches played at Dubai. Whoever wins the toss is likely to bowl first as a result. The pitch is expected to be good for batting but the seamers have had some joy in Dubai in recent times and it is unlikely to be a really high-scoring game.
T20I Head to Head: West Indies have won 11 of their 18 T20Is against England and have won all five World Cup matches. England have the better recent record though, winning three of the four matches between the two sides since the 2016 T20 WC.
Injury/Availability Concerns:England have a full-strength squad to pick from with no injury concerns. Liam Livingstone has fully recovered from the finger injury he sustained in the warm-up against India.
Tactics & Match-ups: Moeen Ali has been in and out of England's T20I side in the last year but should play a key role against the West Indies, with his ability to turn the ball away from the many left-handers in their top order. His run of form with the bat could also see him move up the order, perhaps replacing Dawid Malan at number three, if England want to try and take advantage of the Powerplay.
Possible XI:Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan, Liam Livingstone, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Chris Jordan, Mark Wood, Adil Rashid
Injury/Availability Concerns:Fabian Allan has been ruled out of the tournament with an ankle injury he sustained during the IPL but Andre Russell looks like being fit again after missing much of the second-half of the IPL. He bowled two overs in the warm-up match against Afghanistan.
Tactics & Match-ups: West Indies have only taken 20 Powerplay wickets in their 14 T20Is this year but must find a way to remove Buttler and Roy early. Dwayne Bravo could hold the key. He has dismissed Buttler three times in T20 cricket at an average of 19 so it would be no surprise to see him have an early go with the new ball.
Possible XI:Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Chris Gayle, Roston Chase, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Hayden Walsh, Obed McCoy
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What they said:
“The last two years in T20 International cricket have been probably the most consistent, certainly in my period as captain. We've shown that we can get 200 or maybe more, and also play in the dogfight game – the 130 or 140 game. The side who adapts to all three venues the best throughout this tournament will go on and on win.” – Eoin Morgan, on the adaptability of his England team
“The boys are upbeat. We accept that the two warm-up games did not go as well as how we would have wanted, in terms of scoring the amount of runs or the intent that we are looking for. But we get a sense the guys are up for it, the guys are ready to start this tournament.” – Kieron Pollard is not worried about West Indies' warm-up performances