SOUTHAMPTON: After a convincing 106-run victory over Bangladesh, England will be up against a vibrant West Indies unit in their fourth match of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.
After a shocking defeat to Pakistan, England aced every department against Bangladesh, as they first put up 386/6 on board and then bundled them out for 280 in the 49th over. The openers, determined not to fall into the trap of spin bowling, gave a perfect start, as Jason Roy stroked his way to 153. While Stokes has been giving some priceless overs with the ball, Moeen Ali is likely to return in the playing eleven, considering the number of left handers in the West Indies line-up.
On the other hand, the West Indies’ bowlers might have lit up the tournament so far but it was the lack of application on the batting front that cost them the game against Australia. Their pacers started well against South Africa too, with Sheldon Cottrell picking up two early wickets, before no further play was possible due to rain interruption. The batsmen will have to step up, to set it up for their bowlers who will be challenged by the never-ending English batting line-up.
Once their very own, now their adversary, Jofra Archer will look to defy Chris Gayle and others, promising an exciting contest within a contest at the Hampshire Bowl on Friday.
Eoin Morgan is yet to produce an innings that would match his stature in the tournament so far. Morgan, who averages 76.25 at the Hampshire Bowl and was the highest run-scorer for England in the ODI series against West Indies earlier this year, might be the biggest threat to his opponents on Friday.
Chris Gayle had lit up the tournament with a power-packed 50 against Pakistan but could last only till the fifth over against Australia. The Universe Boss relishes batting against England averaging 51.42 against the hosts, contrary to his career average of 38.14 and will look to stamp his authority early on in the innings.
It would be a cloudy start to the day which would assist the fast bowlers early on, tempting the captains to field first. The afternoon will see rain becoming a bit showery with some brighter spells developing later.
West Indies’ electric bowling attack has caught the eye at this World Cup but Jason Holder insists it’s their brains – instead of their brawn – that allows them to flourish. The Caribbean side have already shown what they are capable of in this tournament, bowling Pakistan out for just 105 thanks to a barrage of fast deliveries en route to a seven-wicket win in their opening game.
And Holder believes it is their ability to outfox batsman outside of the powerplays which has sparked an upturn in form since the last ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup – a four-year period in which they did not win an ODI series.
“We’ve been getting wickets. I think previously we haven’t been getting wickets in the middle,” he said. “We have always got wickets with the new ball. But previously we haven’t been able to get wickets in the middle overs. And it’s been the talking point over the last couple of months in one-day cricket and now in this tournament we have been able to get wickets in the middle overs which has definitely broken the back of most teams. I think if we continue in that vain, we will be a force to be reckoned with but we have to take it game by game. This game against England, as I said before, is a very, very important game and we have just got to dot all of our Is and cross the Ts.”