Friday, July 19, 2024

Hosts West Indies take on defending champions England


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Gros Islet, June 19: An inform West Indies will be keen to carry the winning momentum but will be wary of underestimating familiar foes England in their opening Super Eight clash of the T20 World Cup which promises to be a run fest here.
Both England and West Indies are each competing for an unprecedented third T20 World Cup title. While the hosts are undefeated in the tournament so far, England had a rather anxious group stage and needed arch-rivals Australia’s help to keep alive their title defence.
Having played catch up after a loss against Australia in the league stage, Jos Buttler and his men now have the opportunity to start afresh.On the other hand, West Indies, who head to the fixture on the back of an eight-match winning streak, put up a sensational display against Afghanistan, notching a huge 104-run win at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium.
They once again head to the stadium that holds the name of their head coach and two-time T20 World Cup-winning captain in search of a similar result.
“It’s not necessarily to send them (England) a message (the huge win against Afghanistan). It’s just to show them that as much as they are playing good cricket, we’re playing good cricket – so come Wednesday night it should be a very good game,” skipper Rovman Powell said at the pre-match press conference.
West Indies are performing as a cohesive unit. Their batters have taken responsibility and stood up every time the team needed someone — be it Shane Rutherford or Nicholas Pooran. Their bowlers too have done their job.The flat pitches and relatively short square boundaries here are a paradise for batters with all matches played here so far being a high-scoring affairs.
But the batters will have to be carefully negotiate the cross winds that sends some balls flying unexpectedly for six and others swirling. Pooran targeted them ruthlessly against Afghanistan.
West Indies will bank on their left-armspin duo of Akeal Hosein and Gudakesh Moti against England’s predominantly right-handed batting lineup.
While the pitch favours batters, the extra bounce still offers incentive for the quicks and left-arm medium pacer Obed McCoy’s role will also become important.
England pacers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood would also be keen to make most of the conditions.
The two teams have clashed rather regularly in the past and are well aware of each other’s strength and weaknesses.
“When we play the English guys so often, we play them actually every year, so they know a lot about us, we know a lot about them,” Powell said.
“It’s just that when you’re playing the game on the day, whoever gets on top has to stay on top for as long as possible.”
Match starts 6am IST. (PTI)


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