By Ravi Madholall
No doubt the Windies are still brimming with high confidence after their test series win over England and their equalization of the one-day series recently at the Kensington Oval, Barbados. The two teams are set to reach up each other again in the fourth and penultimate encounter on Wednesday in Grenada. The third game was badly affected by all-day precipitation without a ball being bowled.
Windies, who emerged as the winner in the five-day format 2-1, lost the opening limited-over contest by six wickets but returned with dynamism and enthusiasm to cart off an impressive 26-run win. With the ICC 50-over World Cup mega event on the horizon, these teams are anxious to identify any sort of deficiencies.
Windies have shown consistency in every department and will be bolstered with the presence of Jamaican versatile all-rounder Andre Russell. Russell was out of the maroon uniform for a lengthy period owing to injuries.
Apart from the flamboyant Russell, his compatriot opening batsman Chris Gayle could be destructive as well on a pitch that is expected to be responsive. Gayle, known as the “Universe Boss” has been in extraordinary form having waltzed his way to a scintillating century (135) in the first game.
Guyanese young batting sensation Shimron Hetmyer is the other centurion for the regional side having hit an elegant, unbeaten 104 in the next game. The home team can be optimistic in their bowling which displayed relentlessness too as left-arm seamer Sheldon Cottrell snapping up a five-wicket haul. England, the host country for the World Cup, on the other hand, are capable of dominating proceedings as one would have reflected on their brilliant performances thus far in the two matches.
Centuries from Jason Roy and Joe Root magnified the batting prowess while several fast and slow bowlers had done the trick. Meanwhile, according to information emanating out of Grenada, the weather looks fine for tomorrow’s fixture even though there might be some dark clouds hovering over the facility for the early part of the day. Both foreign and local Fans will be hoping the gloomy day doesn’t exist again.
“It’s been a very stable team and we’ve played a lot of cricket together now and have a good understanding of how to go about things, how each other plays, how we complement each other best. That does make things a lot easier,” says veteran batsman Root on the eve of the showdown. West Indies: (probable) 1 Chris Gayle, 2 John Campbell, 3 Shai Hope (wk), 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Jason Holder (capt), 7 Andre Russell, 8 Ashley Nurse, 9 Devendra Bishoo, 10 Sheldon Cottrell, 11 Oshane Thomas. England: (probable) 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jos Buttler (wk), 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Liam Plunkett, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Mark Wood.