Fast-starting West Indies can beat England in First Six Overs in Cricket’s World Twenty20Published March 14, 2016
England get their World Twenty20 campaign off and running with what immediately looks like something of a must-win game against the West Indies if they are to progress to the semi-final stage.
Both teams had morale-boosting wins in warm-up games over the weekend, with England defeating New Zealand by six-wickets in Mumbai and the West Indies battling to a three-wicket win over Australia in Kolkata. Adil Rashid was England’s hero with 3-15 from four overs, while West Indies captain Darren Sammy blasted an unbeaten 50 off 28 balls to see his team home with a ball to spare.
Although England won the World Twenty20 in 2010, it’s their weakest form of the game as things stand. The batting line-up looks fairly formidable with big hitters like Jos Buttler; Ben Stokes; Alex Hales and captain Eoin Morgan. However, in the absence of Stuart Broad, James Anderson and Steve Finn, the bowling department is short of experience. Will they be able to handle the occasion?
England’s squad is young and inexperienced in Indian conditions, although that could also potentially work in their favour if they have no preconceptions.
By contrast to England, World T20 is West Indies strongest format of the game these days and their squad is full of many T20 specialists. It’s a fairly seasoned squad, featuring a number of players who were part of the World Cup winning team in 2012.
Only a month ago it appeared that there was a definite possibility of the full-strength West Indies squad boycotting the World Twenty20 in a dispute over contracts with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). That dispute has been put to bed for now, but there is always a simmering tension between the players and the WICB dating back years.
Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Darren Bravo and Lendl Simmons have all withdrawn from the initial West Indies squad for various reasons. All-rounder Andre Russell also has a hearing with the Jamaican Anti-Doping Commission scheduled for 23rd March, when he could potentially face a two-year ban for allegedly missing three drug tests in a year.
On the basis that Chris Gayle will open the batting for the West Indies, it will only need him to be at the crease for a few overs to get the scoreboard ticking over at a rapid rate. He is a player who can single handedly win the West Indies a match if he gets going. With that in mind, backing the West Indies to have the highest score after the First Six Overs looks a decent punt.