The Ashes 2021 opened up plenty of issues that England are having in the longest format of the game and those will take their own sweet time to be fixed. The situation now with England’s red-ball side is pretty similar to what it was like after their early exit from the World Cup 2015. England managed to script a massive turnaround after that and have not seen back yet.
The focus will now move towards the same white-ball team as England are all set to take on West Indies in a long tour that consists of five T20Is followed by three Test matches. The first T20I of the series is to be played at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados on 22nd January 2021.
WI VS ENG TEAM PREVIEWS
West Indies used to be a massive force to reckon with in the shortest format of the game and it was only pretty recently that they started losing that title. Their World Cup campaign was undoubtedly the final confirmation of the void they are experiencing in the growth phase of their side.
Led by Kieron Pollard, West Indies are coming off a pretty poor outing against Ireland, albeit in a different format. Prior to that, West Indies met Pakistan in Pakistan and their performance was far from satisfactory there too as Pakistan won the three-match series 3-0. With some of the key players back, a lot has changed for West Indies since then and they will be keen to prove themselves in this series by defeating one of the World’s better teams of the format.
West Indies have a good number of youngsters likely to play in this upcoming match and there couldn’t have been a better time to test out the bench strength than a home series. Having said that, the experienced players will really need to step up, be it with the bat or with the ball. They have a rather unsettled top order with Brandon King or Kyle Myers not having much experience of playing at this level. Their middle-order, however, looks pretty buffed up with Nicholas Pooran, Roston Chase, and Kieron Pollard all available.
West Indies is one of the only few teams that have followed a template similar to England’s pretty successfully. We expect them to be pretty aggressive in this match as well, but getting a good start with the bat will be key. If they are able to utilize the powerplay to their advantage and the bowlers are able to keep English stars quiet, they will be a very difficult side to deal with.
Regardless of how poor England has been in the longest version of the game, their team in colored clothing has done wonders in recent times. They looked in perfect order in the recently concluded T20I World Cup before they were knocked out by New Zealand. Besides, they have a wide number of options practically for each place in the side, something that they so dearly lack in the longest version of the game.
England will be far from their full-strength side in this upcoming game, but will still be a pretty formidable unit to deal with. Jos Buttler, Mark Wood, and Jonny Bairstow are all set to miss this upcoming match, largely owing to the heavy workload that they have sustained recently. Other major names that England will be missing are Tom Curran and Jofra Archer, who both are out due to injury. Sam Billings, however, who played in the Ashes and looked in fantastic touch in BBL prior to that will be in the squad and is expected to be in the playing eleven, especially with Buttler and Bairstow both missing.
Owing to some fantastic performances in different leagues across the globe, Phil Salt is all set to break into the national setup. He will likely open with Jason Roy, making England have an aggressive order at the top. On the batting front, they have the likes of James Vince, Eoin Morgan, and Tom Banton available at their disposal.
England’s biggest strength in the last few years has been the battery of all-rounders they have. It is not going to be any different this time too and with Adil Rashid set to come in at number nine, they have a pretty deep batting team. All in all, England will once again be looking to follow the template they have defined exceedingly well. Adapting to the conditions quickly will be a key here and if they are able to do that, getting past them will be a huge challenge.
WI VS ENG, PITCH REPORT AND CONDITIONS
The pitch at the Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados is a balanced pitch. The average 1st innings score at this venue in the last 5 matches is 139 runs. The team batting first at this venue has won 80% of its matches. The team winning the toss will look to bat first here.
The venue is suited for both Pacers and Spinners alike.
WI VS ENG, HEAD TO HEAD
In the 19 matches played between these 2 teams, England have won 8 matches and West Indies have won 11 matches. Bowlers of both teams have earned the most fantasy points for their respective teams so far.
Both West Indies and England boast a high level of batting firepower within their ranks which may lead to a high scoring contest here. However, the superior bowling options England possess should prove a defining factor here as it did when the two sides last met in the T20 World Cup last year. Combine that with England’s strength-in-depth across both their batting and bowling departments compared to their opponents and they are expected to overwhelm a West Indies team who have recently lost their way in the white ball format as they attempt to integrate new faces into their setup. Therefore, back England to win this first T20I.