England World T20 preview: West Indies

There have been five different winners of the five World Twenty20 tournaments to date and two champions from this decade lock horns in a mouthwatering opening group one clash.

England captain Eoin Morgan was at the other end when Paul Collingwood hit the winning runs to defeat Australia in the 2010 final in Barbados and leads a young, fearless side against the host nation from six years ago, Darren Sammy’s vibrant West Indies.

Eoin Morgan celebrates winning the 2010 T20 World Cup against Australia in Barbados

The Windies, who won the title in 2012, are ranked number two in the world and boast an intimidating line-up brimming with match-winning T20 pedigree. With 10 players retained from the victory four years ago, franchise-cricket stars Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Sammy have the ability to rapidly and clinically take the game away from the opposition. 

In contrast, England have 10 players at their first T20 World Cup and while they play significantly less 20-over cricket, there is blockbuster talent throughout the group. Big-hitting Jason Roy has hit form alongside Alex Hales, who struck a masterful 116 against Sri Lanka at the last edition of this tournament.  Joe Root and Morgan offer nous and solidity in the middle order, with the ball-striking ability and bristling physicality of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes to follow.

Shot-maker Moeen Ali is England’s second genuine all-rounder with Stokes and also provides the twin-spin threat with Adil Rashid, who looks full of brio with a white ball in his hands. Then head coach Trevor Bayliss will choose three from four-strong pace quartet Liam Plunkett, Chris Jordan, Reece Topley and David Willey. 

That (potential) England XI is without classy young batsmen Sam Billings, who will play in the 2016 IPL, and James Vince, who top scored in the 3-0 series win over Pakistan last November.

England have options and some momentum after back-to-back warm-up victories in India, important after a draining defeat at the hands of AB de Villiers last time out in South Africa in February.

Hosts India are rightly installed as tournament favourites – they have won nine of 10 T20 internationals in 2016 – but England fancy a title tilt. And a good start is crucial, especially with the Proteas up next on Friday.

When? Wednesday 16 March
Where? Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Start? 14:00 (GMT)

How to keep up with the action?

Live on Sky Sports from 13:00
Live on BBC Test Match Special from 13:30
Live updates on @EnglandCricket on Twitter and England Cricket Facebook
Daily reports, interviews and features on ECB.co.uk

West Indies stars Darren Sammy (L )and Chris Gayle celebrate victory over South Africa last year

The squads

Eoin Morgan (Middlesex, capt), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Sam Billings (Kent), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Liam Dawson (Hampshire), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), Ben Stokes (Durham), Reece Topley (Hampshire), James Vince (Hampshire), David Willey (Yorkshire)

West Indies
Darren Sammy (capt), Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Marlon Samuels, Andre Fletcher, Dwayne Bravo, Denesh Ramdin, Andre Russell, Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Samuel Badree

Big game for…

Jason Roy
Jason Roy is yet to ignite in T20 cricket for England but has a burning desire to succeed, allied to proficient hand-speed and bruising power. The Surrey opener  was leading run-scorer on 677 in the 2014 NatWest T20 Blast and hit 55 from 36 balls in the superb warm-up win over New Zealand last Saturday. The platform the 25-year-old lays with Alex Hales will be crucial for the big-hitters that follow in England’s deep batting line-up. Joining close mate Hales as the only Englishman to make a T20i century is firmly on his radar.

England opener Jason Roy, who hit 55 from 36 balls in the warm-up win over New Zealand last Saturday

Chris Gayle
“He is our leader, he is our hero, we all look up to him.” That is West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo talking about opener Chris Gayle, arguably the most devastating batsman in 20-over history. The giant left-hander has thumped 16 T20 centuries (in international, franchise and domestic cricket), a whopping nine more than the second-placed Brendon McCullum. England must get the 36-year-old out early or the game could soon become out of reach: in April 2013 he hit a 30-ball T20 century for Royal Challengers Bangalore and ended with 175 for the highest ever individual score.

Quotes from the captains

Eoin Morgan: “We’re a developing side and I think the more experience that we gain the smarter the cricket that we’ll play. I think in this tournament playing an aggressive brand of cricket and being brave, but playing smart cricket along the way, is part and parcel of it.

“The West Indies have a number of individual players who are very strong. But it’s important for us as a young talented side to focus on what we do best.”

Darren Sammy: “We’re ready. Every game is a new one but they’ve not beaten us in a World Cup [World T20] before.

“With the players we have in the dressing room, we are confident. I look at our lower order and it always makes me smile.

“We’re all fired up. It was the same feeling when we went to Sri Lanka and won it.”

Previous meetings

13 March 2014 in Bridgetown: England won by five runs
11 March 2014 in Bridgetown: West Indies won by five wickets
9 March 2014 in Bridgetown: West Indies won by 27 runs
27 September 2012 in Pallekele: West Indies won by 15 runs
24 June 2012 in Nottingham: England won by seven wickets

Did you know?

West Indies have won eight of 12 T20 internationals against England.

Eoin Morgan will become England’s most capped T20i player with one more appearance; he’s currently level with Stuart Broad on 56.

Alex Hales is the only England player to record a T20i century and made 99 in a 10-wicket win over the West Indies in 2012.

Dejected Alex Hales after falling for 99 against West Indies in T20i in 2012

In T20 internationals against other top-10 ranked sides since 2014, England’s run rate of 8.34 is second only to Australia (8.49).

West Indies are ranked second behind India in World T20 rankings. England are currently sixth.

Source: ECB

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