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Dubai, Oct 22: Two-time champions but currently out of sorts, the West Indies will hope to raise their game by a few notches when they open their campaign against favourites England in a Super 12 match of the ICC men’s T20 World Cup here on Saturday.
A team packed with some of the most destructive T20 players, the West Indies cut a sorry figure in the two warm-up games against Pakistan and Afghanistan and would need to shrug off the disappointment.
The West Indies will need the likes of Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran to fire to make a good start and win at least three group matches to qualify for the semifinals.
One of the major concerns for West Indies is the form of ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle, who scored just 165 runs in 9 innings in the Carribean Premier League and featured in just two games for Punjab Kings in the UAE leg of the IPL. Experienced all-rounder Andre Russell too has had frequent fitness issues, the latest being a hamstring injury.
There is not much to write home about their bowling either with spinner Hayden Walsh (2/41) and left-arm pacer Obed McCoy (2/43) being their most successful bowlers in the two practice games. Their spin department features Fabian Allen, Chase and Akeal Hosein.
England, on the other hand, are the reigning World champions in ODI cricket and will be itching to put the ghosts of the 2016 edition to rest when Carlos Brathwaite had smashed four successive sixes in the final to end their dreams.
Eoin Morgan’s men will look to set the record straight when his army of men takes the field on Saturday. England seems a balanced side despite missing some key players in Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Sam Curran.
Their batting boasts of some big names such as Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, and Jonny Bairstow – all capable of destroying any bowling attack on their day.
West Indies: Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Roston Chase, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr.
England: Eoin Morgan, Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Tymal Mills, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
Match starts at 7.30pm IST. (PTI)