Each time England have have looked to establish their credentials as one of the powerhouses in international cricket, making them strong contenders to clinch their maiden World Cup, they have been brought down to earth by a spirited Windies team. As they head into the second T20I with a 1-0 lead and eager to seal the series to ensure they don’t return home empty-handed, they will look to guard against complacency and will be wary of a Caribbean backlash.
After being overwhelmed in the Test series and being held to a 2-2 draw in the one-dayers, England have managed an early lead in the three-match T20I series. But it didn’t come as clinically as they would have expected as they batting order was yet again put to test by Sheldon Cottrell, whose three-wicket haul in the opening game in St. Lucia gave the visitors a bit of a scare.
Jonny Bairstow, who has had an up and down series, averaging just a touch above 25 in the ODIs, struck a 40-ball 68 which should please the England management as well as the batsmen himself. But England will be a touch worried with Joe Root, who after scoring hundreds in the last Test and the first ODI, has gone without a fifty in four innings. It has also been close to three years since Root last scored a T20I fifty. His last half-century in T20Is came in the World T20 final against the Windies in April 2016.
Meanwhile, Tom Curran’s four-wicket haul will give the England selectors more headache and will create more competition among the England pacers with Jofra Archer’s England selection looming in the near future.
The Windies had a couple of positives – Nicholas Pooran’s half-century gave them a fighting total before Cottrell extended the fight with the ball. The hosts will also bank on the in-form Chris Gayle to do the kind of damage that left England bowlers devastated in the ODI series while also hoping that the talented players like Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer deliver on their promise.
When: Windies vs England, 2nd T20I, Friday, March 8 at 4:00 PM Local Time
Where: Warner Park, Basseterre, St. Kitts
What to expect: Lots of runs are likely to be on offer considering that the venue provided batting-friendly wickets during the Caribbean Premier League. It is expected to be partly cloudy with a high of 26 degree Celsius.
Windies: Obed McCoy, the 22-year-old left-arm pacer, was added to the squad for the last two ODIs following Andre Russell’s withdrawal from the series due to an adverse reaction he had to a medical procedure done in Dubai. But it’s unlikely that McCoy would be tried out in the second game with the Windies expected to name an unchanged eleven.
Probable XI: Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Shai Hope (wk), Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder (c), Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Fabian Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas
England: The impending England arrival of Archer might have left some of the England pacers with a sense of insecurity, with David Willey mentioning that disturbing a combination that has served England well in the recent years by bringing in a new player may not be a good idea. Willey himself didn’t feature in the ODI series and was used for only two overs in the first T20I. Should England decide to give Mark Wood a go, having rested him for the previous match, it will be interesting to see who makes way for him.
Probable XI: Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Joe Denly, Sam Billings, David Willey, Tom Curran, Liam Plunkett, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid
What they said:
“It’s a group of players that have been together for three or four years now that have got us to No. 1. And there’s a reason for that. Whether someone should just walk in at the drop of a hat because they’re available, whether that’s the right thing, I don’t know,” David Willey, on the possibility of Archer’s inclusion.