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The win in the test series was supposed to be an anomaly and things would set right now that the West Indies and England have moved on to the ODI format. After all, England has 10 consecutive wins against the West Indies, including that brilliant chase of 360, to bank upon. They are the number one ranked side in the world and favorites for the ICC World Cup 2019. The West Indies, on the other hand, is ranked ninth in the world and very nearly did not qualify the cricket world 2019 at all.
There has been a resurgence of sorts in West Indies cricket and that is continuing in this series. They scored 360 in the first match and won the second one to level the series 1-1. There is everything to play for with three matches remaining and England is finding out that is not the walkover they expected it to be.
The West Indies put in another commanding batting performance in the second ODI against England as they put up 289 on a surface that was not as good for batting as the first one. The fact that they were able to reach that total was down the brilliance of Shimron Hetmyer, who now has four centuries from 22 ODI matches.
He is just 22 years old and we hope that he continues to play for the West Indies for years to come and is not swayed by the lure of T20 money like so many before him. The old warhorse, Chris Gayle also scored another fifty in typical fashion. It was full of dot balls and sixes eventually giving him a strike rate of just 79.36.
His lack of strike rotation makes it difficult for the batsmen on the other end as well.
John Campbell played a decent hand but will need to do more in order to be a serious contender for Evin Lewis’s spot. With Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite, and Ashley Nurse, the West Indies has some good batting deep into the lineup.
There has been some speculation that Andre Russell could be returning to the ODI side for the remaining three matches. If that happens then that is going to be a giant boost to the West Indies. As of now, though, he is probably going to make a comeback for the T20 series that follows the ODI’s.
We were quite disappointed to see Nicholas Pooran dropped from the side to add another bowler. Sheldon Cottrell played an integral role in winning the West Indies the previous match and is not going to be dropped but Pooran could play in place of Carlos Brathwaite.
The bowling was better in the second match but we don’t think Jason Holder trusts his bowlers completely just yet. Oshane Thomas and Ashley Nurse did not bowl all their overs and this could be a reason why Holder wants to have a sixth bowling option in the side.
We hope the West Indies don’t stop trying to improve their team balance just because they won the second match.
Chris Gayle, John Campbell, Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Devendra Bishoo, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas.
Eoin Morgan conceded that they were beaten by a better side in the second match and he was not wrong. There is no doubt, though, that England seemed to have the match in the bag with about ten overs to go. Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes were batting comfortably and the required run rate was within control.
A flurry of late wickets lost them the match and having the deepest batting lineup in the world did not end up helping them.
We think this last match showed just how important Joe Root is to this side. He bats through the inning playing risk-free cricket and allows the other batter to play freely around him. He got off to a good start but was not unable to make it count.
Eoin Morgan also got a fifty for the second consecutive match but did not convert it into a hundred.
One defeat does not mean that England should go into panic mode and we think they are going to stick with much the same team. They rotated their fast bowlers and gave Tom Curran a chance in the last game. He bowled better than his figures suggest and should be persisted with.
We believe that Tom Curran and Mark Wood are the best choice for England alongside Plunkett and Stokes although David Willey is also likely to get a go sooner rather than later.
Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali have not been as effective as the England team would have hoped. Moeen Ali has had a great couple of years as a bowler and his white ball form leading into the ICC World Cup 2019 is a bit of a concern.
JJ Roy, Jonny Bairstow, AD Hales, JE Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, CR Woakes, AU Rashid, LE Plunkett, M Wood.
The side winning the toss is likely to want to field first
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The third ODI match between the West Indies and England is going to be played at the National Cricket Stadium, St.George ’s, Grenada. The weather forecast for match day is not very good. Rain is predicted for most of the day and so it looks like we are going to struggle to get a game in.
The weather can change pretty quickly in the islands and so we must hope that the weather department got it wrong this time around.
The pitch at St.George’s is good for batting but is one of the slower pitches in the Caribbean. Run-scoring is not going to be very easy and that could actually be a good thing for the West Indies.
The West Indies have shown plenty of fight and there is no doubt that their cricket is on the upswing. They are, however, up against the best side in the world. England could have easily been 2-0 going into the third match had it not been for a late order collapse. We expect them to hit back at the West Indies strongly.
Back England to win.
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