England and the West Indies are set to clash at Kandy’s Pallekele International Stadium in a Group 1 encounter. Both teams ended up second best in their respective league groups and will have a point (or two) to prove.
England crashed to their lowest T20 international score of 80 all out against India and that must continue to rankle in the defending champions’ camp. They could draft Ravi Bopara in at the expense of either opener Hales or middle-order batsman Buttler, and for my money, Hales is the more likely to retain his place. In the absence of Pietersen and Bell, there is a greater load on Morgan to shepherd the innings but he can expect reasonable support from the likes of Wright and Bairstow. With the likes of Swann and Broad able to bat a bit, England can look back on their showing against India as a bad day in the office. Bopara’s ability to play spin will also serve the team’s cause.
The bowling has been more reliable, though. Swann has been the pick of the bowlers but I’d like to see Broad use him in spells of an over each rather than bowl out his quota. The offie not only has the knack of picking up wickets but is hard to get away for runs and change the complexion of the game in his team’s favour if he is used prudently by his skipper. Broad, Finn and Dernbach should select themselves though Bresnan could find himself replaced by Samit Patel. in fact, despite the uncharacteristic bounce and carry the wickets have offered so far, England will need more spin in their attack especially as all the Super Eight games are due to be played on the same track and any wear will only help the slow bowlers.
The West Indian batting led by Gayle looks solid with the likes of Samuels, the Bravo brothers, Pollard and Ramdin to follow in the middle order. Their bowling took a bit of stick from the Aussies in the league encounter between the sides but you can never discount the likes of Rampaul and Narine in a format where a couple of overs can turn the game on its head. Edwards is a competent new ball bowler while the likes of Dwayne Bravo and Pollard have already proved -– in the IPL — their ability to bowl well, in the shortest version of the game.
Unlikely champions in 2010, England will have a weight of expectation to contend with by contrast, Gayle’s return to the Caribbean side bodes well for a team that has been on the ascendant under the helm of Darren Sammy.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.