Who can forget the last time England and Windies squared off against each other? The final of the 2016 World T20 at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Ben Stokes bowling the last over with Windies requiring 19 to win, Carlos Brathwaite smashed 4 sixes in a row to make his side the T20 World Champions for the second time.
It was perhaps the most dramatic finish to a World Cup final ever. That’s what we can expect from the clash of these 2 teams at the Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street. Both sides possess some extraordinary talents of the shortest format of the game. There is very little to choose between the sides on paper.
The way the Test series was contested makes for an even more interesting battle in the limited overs series. Although England managed to win 2-1 yet the way Windies fought back in the 2nd Test series and clinched an emphatic victory, was something no one would have expected.
Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine up against Alex Hales, Eoin Morgan and Joe Root, makes for a mouth-watering contest. It’s a pity that there will be just the one T20I and there are chances that the fans would be left wanting for more.
The home side possesses a strong batting line-up. Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler combine to form formidable batting order. It’s a side that has done so well in limited overs format in the recent past. Any target is not safe against this side and the opposition bowlers are bound to have a tough time.
On the other hand, the bowling unit lacks a little experience. Ben Stokes has been rested and so, the others will have to stand out. David Willey, Chris Jordan and Jake Ball could well be the 3 pacers to start with. There could be a competition between Adil Rashid and Liam Dawson for the spinner’s slot but for the success of wrist spinners of late, Rashid could be preferred.
With Chris Gayle in the squad, there is bound to be excitement. But it’s his partner Evin Lewis that has created a buzz. If these two stick together for a while, they can take the game away from the opposition very quickly. Carlos Brathwaite and Kieron Pollard would be 2 crucial all-rounders with Marlon Samuels bringing in the experience.
The responsibility with the ball will lie heavily on the shoulders of Sunil Narine. For a number of years, he has been the hardest bowler to score runs off in the format. Jerome Taylor and Kesrick Williams might take care of the pace bowling department. Against a strong English line-up, its’s the Windies bowlers who need to script a win.
Players to watch out for
The opening batsman was in a poor form in the limited overs series against South Africa. Despite that, he has managed to hold onto his spot in the squad. The onus will be on him to provide his side with a good start and he is too good a player to miss out a lot in the format.
Once again, it’s an opener that would be under the scanner. He was in a tremendous form in the Caribbean Premier League and overshadowed Gayle with his explosive batting. The left-hander scored a blistering century against India earlier this year and for his sheer ability to dismantle the bowling attacks, he is clearly the Windies’ player to look out for.
England: Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan(c), Dawid Malan, Jos Buttler(wk), Jonny Bairstow, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, David Willey, Jake Ball
Windies: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Marlon Samuels, Chadwick Walton(w), Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell, Carlos Brathwaite(c), Sunil Narine, Jerome Taylor, Kesrick Williams, Ronsford Beaton