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Match Preview – England vs West Indies, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021/22, 14th Match, Group 1



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Five long years ago in Kolkata, time stood still for England’s white-ball cricketers against West Indies. The final of the 2016 World T20 culminated in such an extraordinary expression of wrought, raw power, as Carlos Brathwaite seized his moment against Ben Stokes, that it might have been the undoing of a more callow opposition.
Instead, in many ways, that moment was the making of Eoin Morgan‘s England – a team that had been assembled from the dregs of an abject World Cup campaign in 2015, and who embarked on their Indian odyssey with the naïve optimism of a gang of gap-year backpackers.

“Embrace the naivety” was Morgan’s mantra on that 2016 trip, as he encouraged his players to make a virtue of their inexperience, and simply go with whatever flow seemed to fit the needs of the moment. And right up until that volley of sixes at Eden Gardens, their eyes-wide-shut approach had seemed on course to seal their second T20 crown in the space of six years, after a similarly improbable triumph in the Caribbean in 2010.

But instead, the brutality of their missed moment had other, longer-term effects. Stokes, in particular, chose to channel his guilt and frustration into a four-year quest to become the most potent player on the planet, and was able to distil so many of those Kolkata lessons into the clutch moments of the epic 2019 final.

That night was arguably the making of Jos Buttler too, who saw West Indies’ apparently obsessive focus on six-hitting for what it truly was – not simply a macho means of catch-up from a team that couldn’t be bothered to work the singles, but a sea-change in how T20 batting was to be measured in the coming years, a recognition that few targets are out of reach if you know that you can clear the ropes at will… and if your opponents know it too.

For it was the shuddering power in West Indies’ body-checks that delivered perhaps the most lasting lesson to Morgan’s men – not just in the final, but in their only other defeat of the campaign, their tournament opener in Mumbai, where Chris Gayle launched 11 sixes in a 47-ball century to make a mockery of an apparently stiff 183 target.


Talking tactics - Should Dawid Malan start for England?

Talking tactics – Should Dawid Malan start for England?

They showcased the importance of projecting one’s dominance in such moments. West Indies played with the poise of favourites throughout the campaign, not least because they had been trained at tournaments such as the IPL to thrive in the clutch moments, and grow into their arenas, not shrink from them. England, at that stage of their white-ball revolution, had had limited exposure beyond the confines of the T20 Blast, a stage that was proving perfectly adept at crafting talented players, but offered little of the situational jeopardy that ultimately sealed the spoils.

And as a consequence, it was West Indies who became the first team to claim the trophy twice, following their first win in 2012, and who go into this delayed rematch as the defending champions – now as then, so long in the tooth you wonder if they can possibly still have it in them, yet so powerful from tip to toe that it rarely comes as a surprise when everything clicks once more.

West Indies played that 2016 campaign with an additional fuel to their fire – the righteous anger at being disparaged as mercenaries by their own cricket board, a slight that their captain, Daren Sammy, addressed in coruscating terms in his podium speech at the final, safe in the knowledge that he would never play again as a consequence.
There’s no such grit in the West Indies’ oyster this time – although Gayle is perhaps seeking something similar to rub up against, given his vitriolic response to Curtly Ambrose’s mild critique of his selection. Instead, they are more likely to have to rage against something rather more ubiquitous – the dying of the light that awaits us all.
Gayle himself is 42 and batting on borrowed time, even if he was proving his prowess in the UAE this time last year, by slamming 99 from 63 balls for Punjab Kings against Rajasthan Royals. Dwayne Bravo is 38, but he became a champion once again only last week, bowling four tight overs in Chennai Super Kings’ latest IPL triumph. Lendl Simmons is 36, Kieron Pollard 34 … Andre Russell is 33 with creaking knees and hamstrings. Time will catch up with them all one day, but they are not ready to surrender to its march just yet.
England are not without problems of their own. Stokes’ absence is galling, but Jofra Archer‘s is a crushing blow to a team that looked set to pin their campaign squarely on the most sought-after white-ball cricketer in the world. Sam Curran is another nuggetty campaigner who won’t be able to bring his IPL smarts to the party after sustaining a back injury, and without the wealth of all-round options that Morgan has been able to call upon across formats in recent years, they can expect tricky selection conundrums on a case-by-case basis.


Talking tactics - How can West Indies best use Chris Gayle?

Talking tactics – How can West Indies best use Chris Gayle?

They have to contend, too, with the knowledge that this is probably not the golden ticket that the T20 World Cup might have seemed in its pre-pandemic itinerary. The tournament had been due to take place in Australia this time last year, a venue that would surely have been far more favourable to England’s hard-hitting line-up, and which might also have offered Morgan a chance to bow out on his own terms, rather than stretch himself through what has clearly been a trying era of bio-secure bubbles and legacy management.

And despite PaulCollingwood’s insistence that England would continue to attack the tournament as favourites, and embrace the same mentality that took hold throughout England’s march to the 2019 World Cup title, there was a hint of equivocation in Morgan’s own assessment, when he downgraded his team to “contenders”, while acknowledging that India have been installed as the bookmakers’ favourites.

The subtext is plain, not least in an extraordinarily loaded Group 1, which will also feature Australia, South Africa, Bangladesh and probably Sri Lanka. England’s confidence is not quite where they would like it to be for this tilt at twin World Cup titles. But given everything they have achieved in recent years, nor do they have any choice but to go in with their eyes wide open this time.

Form guide

England: WWLWW(last five completed matches, most recent first)
West Indies: LWLWW

In the spotlight

Who dares to tear their eyes away from the Universe Boss? Chris Gayle has been the single most significant batter of the T20 age, but his era could yet be wound up in this coming fortnight. Since the start of 2021, Gayle has made 227 runs in 16 T20Is, averaging 17.46 and at a strike rate of 117.61 – that is more than 20 points lower than his career mark. His solitary fifty in that time was a typically gleeful rampage – seven sixes and four fours in a 38-ball 67 against Australia – but those moments are becoming the exception rather than the norm. He pulled out of the IPL, two matches into its resumption, to stay fresh for this campaign. We’ll soon see if the rest can bring back his best.

Three years ago, David Willey was the luckless 16th man in England’s World Cup plans. Someone had to make way for the incoming Archer, and though he alone could have offered a left-arm angle to their seam attack, the management decided that Tom Curran’s prowess at the death was a more useful reserve option than Willey’s ability to attack the powerplay with swing and seam. He says he has grown as a person since that setback, and is better versed to attack each match as if it is his last. But against West Indies in particular, with their glut of left-handers, he could be a vital cog in England’s attack. Five years ago in Kolkata, Willey seemed to have sealed the title when he scalped 3 for 20 in his four overs, including Russell and Sammy in the space of three balls. It wasn’t to be then, but as one of a probable seven survivors from that England line-up, the lessons he accrued on that night could be invaluable.

Team news

England’s team balance is an ongoing concern, with West Indies’ prowess against spin potentially encouraging England to field a seam-heavy line-up that, in the absence of Stokes and Curran, may force sacrifices to be made to their batting. And for all that Morgan has volunteered to drop himself if his form doesn’t pick up, the shorter-term victim is more likely to be England’s No. 1-ranked T20I batter, Dawid Malan, whose form in the warm-ups (a run-a-ball 18 and 11 from 15) seemed to confirm that his game isn’t best suited to the UAE’s pitches. The alternative would be to play one of Chris Jordan and Tymal Mills, with the spin of Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Liam Livingstone to fiddle through two bowling allocations between them.

England (probable): 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jos Buttler (wk), 3 Jonny Bairstow, 4 Moeen Ali, 5 Liam Livingstone, 6 Eoin Morgan (capt), 7 David Willey/Chris Woakes, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Mark Wood, 11 Tymal Mills.

Coming into the tournament, Roston Chase was intended to be the glue in West Indies’ middle-order, linking together the power-hitters in a role somewhat similar to that of Marlon Samuels, the main man in each of their two victorious finals. His form, however, hasn’t quite stacked up as intended – an unbeaten 54 from 58 on Wednesday left their chase against Afghanistan flat-footed – and there’s a chance that he may be sidelined for one or both of Simmons and Gayle.

West Indies 1 Evin Lewis, 2 Lendl Simmons, 3 Chris Gayle, 4 Nicholas Pooran (wk), 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Andre Russell, 8 Dwayne Bravo, 9 Akeal Hosein/Hayden Walsh Jr, 10 Obed McCoy, 11 Oshane Thomas/Ravi Rampaul

Stats and trivia

  • England have never yet beaten West Indies in five attempts at a global T20 tournament. They lost in consecutive tournaments in 2009, 2010 and 2012 (despite recovering on that second occasion to lift the title) then twice in 2016, including the final.
  • Gayle and Bravo are two of only six players to have featured in all six T20 World Cups to date, dating back to the original event in South Africa in 2007. India’s Rohit Sharma, and the Bangladesh trio of Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah complete the set.
  • West Indies have played just two T20Is in Dubai, and lost them both, against Pakistan in 2016. England, by contrast, have won four and lost two at the stadium, also against Pakistan between 2010 and 2015.
  • Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket

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    SA vs Ind 2021-22 – Ravi Shastri not reading much into India’s twin losses: ‘How can the standard go down suddenly?’




    Former India head coach suggests not announcing a vice-captain beforehand, but picking someone who can ‘fit into the XI’ on the day

    Former India head coach Ravi Shastri does not see any reason to panic after the team’s twin losses in South Africa. Speaking to PTI on the sidelines of the ongoing Legends Cricket League in Oman, Shastri said given India’s strong performances over the past few years, “how can the standard go down suddenly?”

    Shastri took over as commissioner of the Legends League Cricket, a T20 league that features former players, following his stint as India head coach. He said he did not follow the series in South Africa, but he was confident the team would bounce back. “If you lose one series, you people start criticising… You can’t win every game, there will be wins and losses,” he said. “How can the standard go down suddenly? For five years, you have been number one side in the world.”

    Shastri’s time with the Indian team has spanned from 2014 to 2021, with a break of a year in between from mid-2016 to mid-2017, when Anil Kumble was the coach. Under Shastri, India became the first Asian team to win a Test series against Australia in Australia, doing it in 2018-19 and then repeating the feat in 2020-21. They also made the final of the inaugural World Test Championship, and were leading in a series in England in 2021 before it was stalled by fears of Covid-19. After taking over from Kumble in 2017, Shastri’s term was extended in 2019 till the end of the T20 World Cup 2021. Shastri, 59, would have not been eligible to serve another term as coach though due to age restrictions on the role.
    Rahul Dravid has since taken over from Shastri, but there has also been churn on the captaincy front with Virat Kohli giving up the T20 and Test captaincy a couple of months apart, and being stripped of job in ODIs in between. Shastri, who worked closely with Kohli all through his tenure, said his decision to quit as Test captain should not be questioned.

    “It’s his choice. You have to respect his decision. There is a time for everything. A lot of big players in the past have left captaincy when they felt they wanted to focus on their batting or on their cricket.

    “Whether it’s (Sachin) Tendulkar, (Sunil) Gavaskar or (MS) Dhoni. And, it’s Virat Kohli now.”

    If you announce beforehand, then what happens if the player can’t fit into the team? Then there will be a problem, because ‘How can we drop the vice-captain?’

    Ravi Shastri

    Shastri said Kohli’s highly successful stint should not be judged on him not having led India to a global title in any format. “Many big players have not won a World Cup. That’s alright. (Sourav) Ganguly, (Rahul) Dravid, (Anil) Kumble also have not won. So can we label them as bad players?

    “You can’t generalise. You go and play. How many World Cup winning captains do we have. Sachin Tendulkar had to play six World Cups before winning it.

    “At the end of the day, you are judged by how you play, are you an ambassador of the game? Do you play the game with integrity, and do you play for a long period of time? That’s how you judge players at the end of it all.”

    Speaking to Sports Tak, Shastri also suggested that India would do better not to name an official vice-captain, but pick one of the playing XI to do the job ahead of each game. Rohit Sharma, who is widely believed to be next is line to take up the captaincy in Test cricket, is currently India’s vice-captain, following a long stint in the role by the out-of-form Ajinkya Rahane.

    Asked who should be the next vice-captain if Rohit is promoted to the captaincy, Shastri said: “That will have to be seen. Rahul Dravid will have to see who’s the right candidate. Because that player needs to be a certainty in the team, that’s very important.

    “I often think the vice-captaincy is made into too big an issue by people. Sometimes I think, ‘Why do you even need to announce one (a vice-captain)?’ Go to the ground and see, among those who fit into the XI, who is the most experienced and who can captain, make him the vice-captain.

    “If you announce beforehand, then what happens if the player can’t fit into the team? Then there will be a problem, because ‘How can we drop the vice-captain?’ Is there a rule in any coaching manual that you can’t drop a vice-captain? Of course you can drop them. So if you have some doubts like that, don’t announce the vice-captain at all. Say we’ll go there and decide.”

    While Shastri didn’t get drawn into who should, or shouldn’t be the vice-captain, he did say that Rishabh Pant‘s reading of the game made him a potential future leader.

    “Rishabh is a tremendous young player. I say it openly, when I was a coach I was very fond of him,” Shastri said. “And he listens too. Many people say that he plays how he wants, but that’s not true. He always has the team’s interest in mind. And I’ve always seen that he reads the game well. You should always keep in mind his leadership qualities for the future.”

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    Match Preview – West Indies vs England, England tour of West Indies 2021/22, 3rd T20I




    Series level as West Indies keep the pressure on after near-miss in second game

    Big Picture

    Too close for comfort for England. Captain Eoin Morgan can view it how he likes – wanting to be pushed in matches, exposing a developing squad to pressure and a simple failure to execute, particularly at the death, if you’ll pardon the pun. Sunday night’s one-run thriller was all of those things. But the over-riding fact is that West Indies had no business even getting close after they needed 61 runs off the last three overs with just two wickets in hand. Had it not been for a ninth-wicket stand of 72 between Romario Shepherd and Akeal Hosein, who both finished unbeaten on 44, they wouldn’t have. And so, like England, West Indies have had plenty to chew over going into Wednesday’s third of five games with the series level at 1-1.
    While England’s batting line-up showed vast improvement on their woeful 103 all out from the first match, no one breached fifty during their 171 for 8 in the second with Jason Roy’s 45 the top score. The fact West Indies could rely on a valiantly wagging tail was a plus for them, that they had to was not.
    A fresh pitch offered less of the bounce that West Indies had exploited so well in the first match, where Jason Holder returned the remarkable figures of 4 for 7 from 3.4 overs. England, meanwhile, turned to a mix of experience and youth in Chris Jordan and Saqib Mahmood to bowl two of the last three overs on Sunday, and they conceded 23 and 28 runs respectively as both struggled to calibrate their yorkers.
    The fielding could do with some work on both sides, with Liam Dawson and Morgan (twice) missing chances with varying degrees of difficulty in the covers, while Shepherd identified poor catching attempts as costly to their cause in his post-match dissection after Moeen Ali was twice reprieved in the deep during his 31 off 24 balls which, combined with his three wickets, led to Player of the Match honours.

    Form guide

    West Indies LWLLL (most recent first)
    England WLLLW

    In the spotlight

    Moeen backed Saqib Mahmood to learn from a chastening night in which he went wicketless and conceded 45 off his four overs. It will be interesting to see how Mahmood responds and, indeed, how England respond at the selection table. There is a case to be made for sticking with him while those lessons are fresh and in light of Morgan’s desire to increase experience with a view to improving execution. With Tymal Mills fresh from a rest during the second match, Mahmood could be rotated out of the side but the effect of being rested, rotated or dropped on Mahmood’s confidence could well be the same and is worth considering.
    Allrounder Odean Smith has played a minimal role in the series thus far amid a wealth of options in West Indies’ middle order and the success of others with the ball, including captain Kieron Pollard. Smith has bowled just one over, which went for four runs, and hit 7 off 3 balls from No. 8 on Sunday. But, speaking after their narrow defeat, Nicholas Pooran backed Smith as “power-hitter”. With their batting line-up largely untested in the first match, as the top three overhauled a paltry target for a nine-wicket victory, single-figure scores for four of the top six in the second match mean the spotlight could be thrown a little wider should it fall to Smith or his lower-order counterparts to lift them again.

    Team news

    West Indies’ ability to get so close with an unchanged side would indicate few, if any changes, all being well recovery-wise after two outings on the trot. With Shepherd and Hosein performing so admirably in the last game, it’s hard to see them being squeezed out.

    West Indies (possible): 1 Shai Hope (wk), 2 Brandon King, 3 Nicholas Pooran, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Kieron Pollard (capt), 6 Jason Holder, 7 Fabian Allen, 8 Odean Smith, 9 Romario Shepherd, 10 Akeal Hosein, 11 Sheldon Cottrell

    Illness forced Liam Livingstone to miss England’s first two matches, although he sat in the dugout for the Sunday’s fixture, suggesting that he’s up and about at least and perhaps in contention for the third game, where his big hitting can bolster a line-up bereft of multi-format players Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler. His versatility with the ball would also be welcome for England and Livingstone’s inclusion could see Liam Dawson make way. Reece Topley did more than enough playing his first T20I since 2016 to hold his place with an excellent new-ball spell and tight bowling in the penultimate over of West Indies’ chase if rotation plans allow, so it may come down to a choice between Mahmood and Mills among the seamers.

    England (possible): 1 Jason Roy, 2 Tom Banton, 3 James Vince, 4 Moeen Ali, 5 Eoin Morgan (capt), 6 Sam Billings (wk), 7 Chris Jordan, 8 Liam Livingstone / Liam Dawson, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Saqib Mahmood, 11 Reece Topley

    Pitch and conditions

    Kensington Oval remains limited to 50% capacity, due to Covid restrictions, but that has done little to dampen the party atmosphere in the stands. Mild temperatures in the mid-20s Celsius are forecast for the start of the match, as is a 40% chance of rain with cloud cover increasing through the evening.

    Stats and trivia

  • The 59 runs West Indies scored from the final three overs on Sunday were the joint-most conceded by England in that phase and the second-most by any team in T20Is
  • West Indies have only once chased down a target of 170-plus in T20Is since 2018.
  • Quotes

    “We are, we’re just getting it wrong.”
    England captain, Eoin Morgan, when asked why his side aren’t trying to bowl yorkers.

    “It must be frightening for other teams to know that our No. 10 batter can do that.”
    Romario Sheperd on Akeal Hosein’s heroics.

    Valkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo

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    Women’s Ashes – Meg Lanning, Tahlia McGrath advance in ICC women’s T20I rankings




    Chamari Athapaththu breaks into top ten after showing strong form in the Commonwealth Games Qualifiers

    Meg Lanning and Tahlia McGrath have moved up in the ICC Women’s T20I rankings among batters after guiding Australia to a 1-0 series victory in the T20I leg of the ongoing Ashes series. Lanning, the Australia captain, displaced Smriti Mandhana from third place, while McGrath vaulted up 29 places to 28th.
    In the first T20I in Adelaide, McGrath followed up figures of 3 for 26 with an unbeaten 91 off 49 balls, including 13 fours and a six. Lanning also fired with the bat, scoring an unbeaten 64 off 44 balls as Australia hunted down 170 with nine wickets and three overs to spare. The second and third T20Is ended in no-results following lashing rain in Adelaide.
    Shafali Verma regained the top spot on the table, leapfrogging Beth Mooney, who was sidelined from the Ashes games after undergoing surgery for a fractured jaw. Verma (726) now has a two-point lead over Mooney.

    Among allrounders, Ellyse Perry dropped out of the top ten in the list that continues to be led by New Zealand’s Sophie Devine.

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