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ENG v WI, Lone T20I Preview: West Indies stars in focus in solitary game

West Indies start favorites in this game against the hosts England.

Chris Gayle
Chris Gayle will be seen in West Indies colors tomorrow. (Photo Source: Twitter)

It has been five years since Chris Gayle played a T20I in England. The Jamaican is set to play both limited-overs series in the country for the West Indies. Hosts England have a better white-ball momentum going in their favour but they cannot take the 2-time World T20 champions lightly.

After missing out against South Africa, Joe Root marks a return to the T20 set up after evolving his hitting technique. The English side believes in having specialist reserved for each format and hence only 3 out of the 14 players selected to play this game were a part of the recently concluded Test series.

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West Indies, after resolving issues with their star players, have sent a full-strength squad to participate in both limited overs series. Apart from Gayle, Samuels, Pollard and Sunil Narine are also a part of the squad which is led by Carlos Brathwaite. Each of the players is fresh from their stint in the CPL and are already in the T20 mindset. Though England are a strong T20 unit these days, the visitors start as favourites for this lone encounter in Durham.

Focus will be on

Chris Gayle

When everyone thought that the big man from Jamaica is past his prime, Gayle has shown shades of his former self in the just concluded CPL.  He finished the third highest scorer in the tournament and the highest from his franchise, scoring 376 from 12 at 62.66 at a strike rate of 127.02. The 37-year old posted scores of 93, 71* and a sedate 54* on a tricky wicket which eventually won them the game. Form-wise, Gayle definitely has it behind him. This T20 will be a good practice before the ODI series, where Gayle will play 50-overs cricket after 30 months. The English crowds will be secretly wishing to see some fireworks when Gayle will walk out to take guard tomorrow.

Joe Root

The Test captain was left out of the side for the home series against South Africa but finds another chance to showcase his shorter format skills. In the meanwhile, Root has worked on his big-hitting abilities by training baseball-like. His T20I record is very impressive as the right-hander has amassed 726 runs at 40.33 from 24 games at a strike rate of 130.10. Despite having this record, Root has been more often than not sidelined from the shortest format for some reason. The 26-year-old will be keen to prove that he can add value to the T20 squad ahead fo the World T20 next year. He has been in serious form in both Test and ODI cricket and it is just a question of carrying it into the T20s.

Playing Combination

England

After recording a series of single-digit scores, Jason Roy finally got a half-century in the 2nd T20 against South Africa. He will open alongside Alex Hales, who is fresh from a double century in first-class cricket. Joe Root and Morgan will occupy the crucial No. 3 and 4 slots. After making an impressive debut for England in the final T20 against South Africa, Malan is certain to start this game and might bat at 5 followed by Jos Butler. Due to the presence of a few bowling all-rounders in the squad, Liam Plunkett will bat at 7. Chris Jordan, David Wiley, Adil Rashid and Liam Dawson will make the rest of the numbers.

West Indies

Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis will open the innings. Marlon Samuels, Jason Mohammad, and Kieron Pollard will form the middle order which isn’t short of experience. Chadwick Walton and Carlos Brathwaite will form an explosive lower middle order. West Indies might ponder including two spinners in Sunil Narine and Ashley Nurse. The fast bowling department will be taken care by Jerome Taylor and Kesrick Williams. All-in-all, the 2-time World T20 winners have a very balanced squad covering all bases.

Predicted XI

England: Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (C), Dawid Malan, Jos Buttler (Wk), Liam Plunkett, Chris Jordan, Liam Dawson, Adil Rashid and David Wiley.

West Indies: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Marlon Samuels, Jason Mohammad, Kieron Pollard, Chadwick Walton (Wk), Carlos Brathwaite (C), Ashley Nurse, Sunil Narine, Kesrick Williams and Jerome Taylor.

Stat Attack

2 – Wickets required by Sunil Narine to complete 50 T20I wickets.

41 – Runs required by Marlon Samuels to complete 1500 T20I runs. He will be the second West Indian to achieve that feat.

16 – Runs required by Jos Buttler to complete 1,000 runs in T20I.

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