In match No 19 of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, England and West Indies are all set to carry the rivalry they share between themselves to a different level altogether. The two teams meet at Hampshire Bowl – arguably one of the best batting pitches in England and one where more than 730 runs were scored when England met Pakistan earlier this year.
To make it more interesting, Jofra Archer will don England colours — the Caribbean born player who wasn’t given enough opportunity by the West Indies Cricket Board — and will now play against them as one of England’s key weapons with the ball.
England with a couple of wins from their three matches are at the fourth position on the points table. On other hand, West Indies are at the sixth position with three points to their credit – a defeat from both the team’s perspective will make things tougher for them ahead in their quest to reach the semi-finals.
Interestingly, the last time when both the teams met in a bilateral series, the series ended in 2-2 with one match being abandoned due to rain. And guess who was the West Indian hero in this series? Chris Gayle, of course! The devastating left-handed opener scored as many as 39 sixes as he accumulated over 400 runs in just four innings.
As the 2-2 result shows, nothing drastic separates the two teams and the margin for error will be as low as humanly possible. While the self-proclaimed “Universe boss” will back his ability to produce a performance similar to the one he put up against England in that bilateral series in February, he will have to face off a new bowler in front of him – one which did not feature in that series and one whose inclusion has certainly added so much depth to the England bowling attack – Jofra Archer.
Archer versus Gayle will be the key battle to watch out for.
England who started off strongly against South Africa in their World Cup opener, had to face off a horrific defeat against Pakistan in their second match. The England team then stitched a good little comeback again against Bangladesh and outplayed the “Bangla tigers” in all the departments to register their second win – the kind of win that would have given them a lot of confidence going forward in the tournament.
West Indies, meanwhile, were clinical in their win against Pakistan but lost a game they should have won against the defending champions Australia. Post that, they haven’t got an opportunity to show their skills on the field as their third match was washed out. Against England, however, if a full spirited West Indies team comes out to the field, they can definitely give England a run for their money.
Against the South African team, in the match which was washed out, West Indies had not named Andre Russell in the Playing XI after he injured his knee. It remains to be seen if he regains his fitness before their important clash with England.
England too had an injury scare when key player Jos Buttler injured his hip against Bangladesh. However, Buttler is expected to recover well in time before the match and be available for selection in this promising encounter.
In a World Cup where four of the 18 matches played so far have been washed out, Friday’s weather forecast brings in happy news as rain is expected to stay away while the match is on.
From a 2-2 result in their last bilateral meet to this World Cup contest, only a couple of things will be different – conditions which will have something to offer for the pacers in an otherwise flat pitch and Jofra Archer, perhaps the most lethal weapon to exploit what the pitch has to offer. This might have just tilted the balance in favor of England.
The two teams meet at the Hampshire Bowl, Southampton as action begins from 3:00 pm (IST) onwards.
England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jos Buttler (wk), Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
West Indies: Jason Holder (c), Fabian Allen, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas.