Rediff.com  » Cricket » T20 WC: England ready to banish pain of 2016 in opener

T20 WC: England ready to banish pain of 2016 in opener

October 22, 2021 15:07 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

The West Indies cut a sorry figure in the two warm-up games against Pakistan and Afghanistan and would need to quickly shrug off the disappointment ahead of the tournament proper.

IMAGE: The West Indies cut a sorry figure in the two warm-up games against Pakistan and Afghanistan and would need to quickly shrug off the disappointment ahead of the tournament proper. Photograph: Windies Cricket/Twitter

Two-time champions West Indies will hope to raise their game by a few notches against favourites England in a Super 12 match of the ICC men's T20 World Cup in Dubai on Saturday.

A team packed with some of the most destructive T20 players, the West Indies cut a sorry figure in the two warm-up games against Pakistan and Afghanistan and would need to quickly shrug off the disappointment ahead of the tournament proper.

It was poor batting which cost them both the practice matches. While against Pakistan, the Carribean team failed to put up a fighting total, scoring a modest 130 for 7, Kieron Pollard's men managed 133-5 in their chase of 189 against Afghanistan.

Roston Chase's 54 off 58 balls against Afghanistan was the only highlight of their batting as none of the other batters could capitalise on their starts in both the matches.

Pollard showed some spark when he hit a 10-ball 23 with five boundaries against Pakistan and his finishing skills will play a big role for the team in the tournament.

The West Indies will need the likes of Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran to fire to make a good start and win at least three group matches to qualify for the semi-finals.

One of the major concerns for West Indies is the form of Chris Gayle, who scored just 165 runs in 9 innings in the Carribean Premier League and featured in just two games for Punjab Kings in the UAE leg of the IPL.

Experienced all-rounder Andre Russell too has had frequent fitness issues, the latest being a hamstring injury. He played only three games for Kolkata Knight Riders in UAE.

With Oshane Thomas in the ranks, pace still looks better than their spin department which features the likes of Fabian Allen, Chase and Akeal Hosein.

England may have been deprived of all-rounders Ben Stokes and Sam Curran as well as pace bowler Jofra Archer, but skipper Eoin Morgan still boasts a fearful array of weapons. 

IMAGE: England may have been deprived of all-rounders Ben Stokes and Sam Curran as well as pace bowler Jofra Archer, but skipper Eoin Morgan still boasts a fearful array of weapons. Photograph: England Cricket/Twitter

A destructive batting order and a balanced bowling attack means top-ranked England will start the T20 World Cup confident of adding the trophy to the 50-over title they claimed in 2019.

They may have been deprived of all-rounders Ben Stokes and Sam Curran as well as pace bowler Jofra Archer, but skipper Eoin Morgan still boasts a fearful array of weapons.

Packed with experience in the heat of battle, England will also be spurred on by the bitter taste of defeat in the final of the last edition of the tournament in 2016.

Several of the side that beat New Zealand in a memorable World Cup final at Lord's in 2019 will underpin England's challenge with Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Jason Roy and Morgan all capable of match-winning knocks.

And in left-hander Dawid Malan, England have the current number one ranked T20 batsman, who averages over 40.

No team has ever been world champions at both limited overs formats simultaneously, but England appear capable of becoming the first, even if a few of their big names have been misfiring in the IPL in recent weeks.

England will also meet Australia and South Africa.

While their batting looks more than a match for all those rivals, the bowling department could be Morgan's ace.

"I genuinely believe to win a tournament you will be as good as your bowlers," fast bowler Chris Jordan said.

"Our batting lineup is well stacked and is phenomenal and we can chase down any score, but I definitely believe we can (succeed) if we gel really well as a bowling unit."

Jordan bowled the penultimate over as West Indies chased down England's total in the 2016 final, conceding just eight runs, before Carlos Brathwaite struck four sixes off Stokes to take his side to a famous victory.

Jordan believes England's bowlers have learned from that bitter experience and aged 33 and in his third T20 World Cup, the Surrey quick has proved himself one of the best bowlers at the death of an innings.

In the experienced Chris Woakes, the man his team mates call The Wizard, England possess a medium-pacer who can turn the course of a match in an over, while Adil Rashid's career-best four for 35 to help England clinch a series win against Pakistan in July, was more evidence of his mastery of the T20 challenge.

Such is the whirlwind nature of T20 cricket that the favourites tag can be a burden, but Jordan believes the side are ready to go all the way this time.

"All the ingredients are there for us to make a decent run in this competition," Jordan said.

Teams:

West Indies: Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Roston Chase, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr.

England: Eoin Morgan, Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Tymal Mills, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Match starts at 7.30pm IST.

Morgan and Woods

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
AGENCIES

New Zealand Tour of India, 2021