02:00 PM UTC: England vs West Indies, Group 1, Super 12, ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup
The English team will clash against the West Indies outfit in what can be dubbed as the rematch of the 2016 World Cup Finals. The two teams are among the favorites to go the distance and offer a long list of power hitters and run accumulating players.
England’s well-balanced batting
England has a top-notch batting order, rivaled by only a few teams in the tournament. Roy and Buttler can give sizzling 9+ runs per over start up-front, Dawid Malan is a run machine and among the top-ranked batters. They also have Johnny Bairstow in the middle who can crunch runs at a quick pace. Liam Livingstone has shown that he can be one of the pinch-hitters in the format and overall, the team has a lot of power hitters who can mount up 170-200 runs if they click. Oh, and let’s not forget Moeen Ali who can change the game with his smart bit of batting too.
What is the concern then? Eoin Morgan’s form is a huge concern for the team as the batter has looked out of sync for a long time now. Also, the pitches in UAE tend to be difficult to bat at times and it will be interesting how such a power-packed line-up does without someone taking the anchor role. And for that reason, Malan will need to be ready to stabilize the order and Morgan needs to hit form as soon as possible.
Out of the park hitting of West Indies or is it a new era?
West Indies, whether they win or lose the title, remain an idle T-20 team with its plethora of six hitters. Evin Lewis has shown the ability to take the game away from the opponents, just like Gayle in his heydays, albeit in a different style. Meanwhile, Lendl Simmons continues to be a terrific player in the format, with his well-laid out batting style. Hetmyer also has an ability to hit the best of the bowlers, and he is a dangerous batter for sure.
The big guns in the middle Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard can hit the 50s off just 20 balls on their days and can hit sixes as big as anyone. Chase can get in the lineup and play the role of stabilizer and anchor the innings. It is tough to gauge some metrics because it is unclear what combinations the Windies will play during the World Cup or during this game itself. Will Gayle play in this game?
Bowling is one area that can be bothersome for West Indies although there is one thing that can’t be overlooked. Dwayne Bravo has shown that he can be a terrific death bowler and strike at regular intervals. Kieron Pollard can be more than useful on the pitches of UAE with his variations. Ravi Rampaul has experience on his side but the bowling combinations will only be clear just before the match. Oh, and among spin options, there is Hayden Walsh and Roston Chase, who will be tested against this batting line-up.
For England, Mark Wood and Tymal Mills are 140+ speed gunners and can rattle teams with their yorkers. Mind you, one can’t underestimate this duo of fast bowling because they can scoop up wickets even on flat wickets. Spinner Moeen Ali can be a difference maker and can reel in wickets and stem runs through his tight lines. There is also Chris Woakes, who can swing the ball, but it will be interesting to see if he gets playing time. Adil Rashid and Chris Jordan are other options. Let us see what combination England comes up with.