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England managed to win the first T20 match against West Indies thanks to two excellent performances from Tom Curran and Jonny Bairstow. The West Indies played well in patches but would have been disappointed to not have laid down the hammer just when it was needed. Now, the series moves on to St. Kitts for the second T20 international.
West Indies has done a smart thing in our opinion by continuing to play its ODI squad together and giving them more time to gel together. The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is just around the corner and the West Indies are being counted as legitimate dark horses for the title now. Playing against the best limited-overs side in the world is going to do them a lot of good.
The home side has shown on multiple occasions it is not afraid to come hard at England and we expect that to be the case here as well.
It is unclear if Andre Russell is fit enough to be a part of the paying eleven right now but considering the fact he was playing in the PSL till very recently, we had hoped to see him in West Indian colors once more. Maybe this will be the match where he gets a chance to show us what he is capable of.
The West Indies could swap out one of Fabien Allen or Carlos Brathwaite for Andre Russell without missing a beat. At this point, though, we are not going to count him in our plans.
It is a sign of how the West Indies play that they hit more sixes in the first T20 than they hit fours. Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo, and Nicholas Pooran all went hard at the English bowlers. This is the approach they have in any format of the game really but we think there was a touch of overzealousness in the West Indian batting in the first match.
It was unfortunate that no one apart from Nicholas Pooran was able to get past the fifty run mark but there is no doubting the batting talent that is at the disposal of this West Indian side. Shai Hope is perhaps the only player that is not an ultra-aggressive batsman in the side.
Even Carlos Brathwaite, Fabien Allen, and Jason Holder batting at 6, 7, and 8 respectively are known for their six-hitting prowess. We are backing this lineup to come good in the next match and set up a real spectacle for the crowd.
Sheldon Cottrell led the bowling with three wickets to his name and most of the others did well too. The score on the board was not big enough, though, and it was always going to be about one good inning to take the game away from them.
Shai Hope, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo, Nicholas Pooran, Carlos Brathwaite, F Allen, Jason Holder, Devendra Bishoo, Obed McCoy, Sheldon Cottrell.
Tom Curran and Chris Jordan put on an absolute clinic of T20 bowling as they unfurled their variations, the yorkers, and excellent knowledge of what the batsman was looking to do. They took six wickets between them and were quite difficult to score off.
Chris Jordan may have only got two wickets but he bowled just three overs and went for only 16 runs. He was the better bowler than Tom Curran in our opinion. It was a tough day in the office for Liam Plunkett and David Willey who went for more than 10 runs an over.
Adil Rashid was brilliant in the circumstances giving away just 15 runs in his full quota of four overs.
England has a lot of depth in the squad and is using this opportunity to test out players for the ICC World Cup 2019. They still have another five matches against Pakistan to go, though, and so there is no need to keep re-jigging the side in every match.
We don’t think we will see too many changes in the England bowling lineup for the upcoming match.
The batting stuttered a little as Alex Hales, Joe Root, and Eoin Morgan fell early but Jonny Bairstow continued his return to form with a fine 68. Joe Denly contributed with the ball and made a crucial 30 as well.
It was his partnership with Jonny Bairstow that broke the back of the chase.
England has genuine batting options till number eight but it is still lacking I power as compared to the West Indies. We think Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan are very important for England to be able to set and chase down big totals.
If the two of them fail in the next match, then we think England could end up being on the losing side.
AD Hales, Jonny Bairstow, JE Root, Eoin Morgan, Joe Denly, Sam Billings, David Willey, Tom Curran, LE Plunkett, Chris Jordan, AU Rashid.
The side winning the toss is likely to want to field first
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The second T20 between West Indies and England is going to be played at Warner Park, Basseterre, St. Kitts. The weather forecast for St. Kitts is perfect. There is barely a 10% chance of rain predicted, which is quite low for the islands.
The pitch in St. Kitts is expected to be flat but slower than we saw in the previous match. The spinners may have more of a say in proceedings and fast bowlers will want to use their cutters generously.
A total of around 150 should be considered par for the surface.
The West Indies will not mind playing on a surface where batting is a bit difficult. They have the power hitters int heir side to be able to clear the boundaries more consistently than England even on a pitch that is difficult. The trick will be to play out Adil Rashid without too much damage.
We think they can do that and advise backing them.
Back the West Indies to win.
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