Thursday, 2 December, 2021

Windies face tough battle against England in T20 WC opener

Australia’s top order in focus

Windies face tough battle against England in T20 WC opener

England and West Indies start their T20 World Cup campaigns against one another in a repeat of the 2016 final at Dubai International Stadium today, report agencies.

The match kicks off at 8:00pm (BST).

On that occasion, England looked to have the trophy in their hands, only for Carlos Brathwaite to hammer four consecutive sixes to give Windies the crown. Eoin Morgan’s side are among the favourites for the tournament, having won the 50-over World Cup two years ago, but their opponents have a side packed full of the planet’s most destructive T20 players, including Kieron Pollard, Chris Gayle and Andre Russell.

With only the top two teams in each group advancing from the Super 12 stage to the semi-final, there is little room for error and both sides will be desperate to get off to a winning start.

England’s plans for the tournament have been complicated by the absences of Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Sam Curran.

The main selection dilemma ahead of the opener concerns the balance of the side, with batter Dawid Malan possibly at risk of losing his place to make room for an extra bowler.

West Indies, meanwhile, have a power-packed batting lineup but there is less certainty over the makeup of their bowling attack.

The spin of all-rounder Roston Chase could provide balance off the back of a superb campaign in the Caribbean Premier League.

England squad: Eoin Morgan, Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Tymal Mills, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, David Willey, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood.

West Indies squad: Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Roston Chase, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas and Hayden Walsh Jr.

In the day’s first match, Australia and South Africa are set to lock horns at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi at 4:00pm (BST).

The Aussies, led by Aaron Finch, have had a tough time of late. They lost eight out of their last 10 T20Is on their tours of West Indies and Bangladesh.

Moreover, they lost to India by eight wickets in the warm-ups. The Proteas, on the other hand, should be fairly high on confidence. Prior to the World Cup, Temba Bavuma and Co. beat Ireland, West India and Sri Lanka in bilateral series. The Proteas also won their warm-up games against Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Australia squad: Aaron Finch (C), David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Adam Zampa.

South Africa squad: Temba Bavuma (C), Quinton de Kock, Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, Heinrich Klaasen, Dwaine Pretorius/Lungi Ngidi, David Miller, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Tabraiz Shamsi.