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Second T20: West Indies v England

West Indies v England

England eased to a victory in their opening T20I against the West Indies, but they did the hard yards up front with the ball.

The Windies’ top-order couldn’t quite line up the tourists in St Lucia, but were not overawed in the contest at all.

West Indies v England | Friday, 8 March | Warner Park, Basseterre St Kitts | 22:00

To Win
West Indies 91/100
Tie 35/1
England 91/100

West Indies
Shai Hope was trialled as an opening partner for Chris Gayle, but the experiment didn’t deliver conclusive results, as both failed to get through the powerplay. The Windies may be looking to Hope to turn strike over to the six machine – and accumulate runs in a manner that is more natural to him.

It was the in-between pace of Tom Curran and Chris Jordan that was the undoing of the West Indies, who have shown themselves to be adept when the ball is coming on – as well as a willingness to attack spin bowling. Warner Park has been slower than some other tracks in the Caribbean, which could play into the hands of the tourists.

Jason Holder has taken over the T20I captaincy temporarily – and has to deal with the fast-paced world of being a Twenty20 skipper. The West Indies Cricket Board feel it will help the Windies’ World Cup efforts if they can keep their ODI unit largely together until the tournament.

Sheldon Cottrell was again a thorn in the English sides, claiming three for 29, but he lacked support from the remainder of the attack barring skipper Holder.

England
Given their patchy form in T20I cricket, England will be delighted with their start to the series. They bowled well up front – and did enough with the bat to get over the line with seven balls to spare.

Jonny Bairstow’s timely return to form powered a batting performance that wasn’t quite where England would want it, even if it earned them a four-wicket win.

England will be wary of what kind of total they could be looking at if the West Indies top-order really gets going, especially if they choose to fill slots five and six with Joe Denly and Sam Billings.

The England T20I unit has not reacted well to being put under pressure of late, so starting games well could be crucial for the tourists.

Verdict: West Indies
England were unconvincing first up and the West Indies have much more in their tank. We could see the home side level things up.

Written by @JonhenryWilson

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