About the Match
England has been rocked by a scandal just before its 4th
ODI against the West Indies and also just before the Ashes squad was to be announced. Will the Ben Stokes arrest distract England enough to allow the West Indies to stage a comeback or will it bring them together and serve as motivation?
2-0 up in the series with two matches to go and complete domination of the West Indies in the ODI format so far. Everything was perfect for England just ahead of the Ashes squad announcement when news broke that Ben Stokes has been arrested after a late night brawl. Alex Hales, who was at the scene has also been suspended from the 4th
ODI as well.
This means that Jason Roy gets a chance to stake a claim for his opening position while one of Tom Curran or Jake Ball will get an opportunity in place of Ben Stokes. The loss of these two players weakens England greatly because Jason Roy has not been in good form of late and there is just no replacement for the all-round brilliance of Ben Stokes.
That being said, England may be weaker than they were in the last match but are still no pushovers. Moeen Ali showed the depth that England possess in their batting unit with a blistering century. Joe Root has also been very consistent without going on to make a hundred but it almost seems inevitable at this point in time.
The bowling for England will be led by Adil Rashid. His leg spin has befuddled the West Indian middle order and led to a spate of collapses. His 5 wickets have come at a fantastic average of 13.00 and an economy rate of 4.33.
Liam Plunkett is the other bowler who has been having a great time of it with 5 wickets as well.
The controversy surrounding the squad will be distracting no doubt and it remains to be seen whether England is able to push it aside to wrap up the series win.
For much of the third ODI, the West Indies played with a lot of spirit. Faced with the daunting task of chasing 370, they were in the hunt as long as Chris Gayle stayed in the middle but eventually they fell short.
The problems for the West Indies seem to be repetitive and can be frustrating for their supporters.
Shai Hope has looked a million dollars when he is in the middle but failed to convert his test form into any meaningful ODI scores. Evin Lewis is still searching for the perfect pace to play this format at as he continues to bash a few balls over the boundary and then get out.
It’s Gayle with 131 runs to his name and Jason Holder with 75 that have actually looked the best of the batsmen by far. Out of 94 in the last match, Chris Gayle has shown that his ability to score runs at the international level remains undiminished even if his fitness is nowhere close to what it should be.
Every one of these West Indian batsmen can bat and score runs but the problem seems to be in adjusting to the added time available to them in ODI cricket. That is not something that will come overnight and will require plenty of patience.
The West Indian bowling actually did better than in previous matches before Moeen Ali decided to cut loose. Miguel Cummins went for plenty of runs but took important wickets. The lack of a quality spinner or a fearsome fast bowler is holding this attack back.
There is too much sameness and length bowling which allows the batsmen to just lay back and go hard at the ball. Early wickets and tight fielding will help the bowlers put some pressure on England otherwise another leather hunt is in order.
Pitch and Conditions
The pitch at the Oval is always excellent for batting and stays like that for the entire duration. Batsmen that like the ball coming on to the bat will be able to use the pace and score plenty of runs. A total of about 330 will be par once again.
The current forecast is for clear skies and an uninterrupted match.
We think that the West Indies may be able to pull off an upset against a distracted England side. Back West Indies to win.