Battle of Batting Powerhouses as England Meet West Indies In St Lucia

England will be up against a high-flying West Indies team. (PC:

The 2016 T20 World Cup final between England and the West Indies was a spectacle to behold. Carlos Brathwaite was the hero as he smashed four sixes off Ben Stokes’ bowling to win the game for the Men in Maroon. Fast forward to 2024, and while Brathwaite and Stokes are no longer part of their respective teams, there will be no shortage of excitement as the two long-standing rivals lock horns at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia to write a new chapter in this rivalry.

Last year, England and the West Indies squared off in a five-match T20I series in the Caribbean. So, there will be familiarity in terms of the personnel. That series was a thrilling contest, with the hosts narrowly edging out England 3-2.

“When we play the English guys so often, we play them actually every year, so they know a lot about us, we know a lot about them,” Rovman Powell said ahead of the England game. “It’s just that when you’re playing the game on the day, whoever gets on top has to stay on top for as long as possible.”

Both teams are eyeing their third T20 World Cup title. The hosts enter the Super 8 stage brimming with confidence, having been unbeaten in the group stage. The Caribbean side has showcased a brand of cricket that combines power, flair, and precision, making them a formidable opponent.

For England, the journey has been far from smooth. Their batting line-up, usually their strength, has been inconsistent. Big names like Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, and Phil Salt have yet to find their rhythm, resulting in sub-par totals that have put pressure on their bowlers. The team will need these key players to step up and deliver if they are to challenge the in-form West Indies.

The bowling attack, led by Jofra Archer and Adil Rashid, has shown flashes of brilliance but lacks the consistency required at this stage of the tournament.

“Go hard or go home” has been the West Indies’ mantra throughout the tournament, and their unrelenting approach could spell trouble for England’s bowlers. This strategy has paid off so far, with Nicholas Pooran in scintillating form, leading from the front with aggressive stroke play. His memorable innings, including a record-equalling 36 runs off an over, have marked him as a player to watch. It will be interesting to see how England’s bowlers plan to contain him, especially given his prowess against both pace and spin. The conditions in St Lucia are expected to suit his style of play perfectly.

To counteract West Indies’ aggressive batting, England could consider unleashing Reece Topley with the new ball. The tall left-armer, who can swing the ball both ways, could emulate Trent Boult’s success from a few days ago by causing serious problems for the West Indies’ batters. In addition to Topley, the West Indies will need to be cautious of the in-form Archer and Rashid.

While West Indies’ batters have thrived in the World Cup, England’s batters have struggled to find their rhythm. However, the pitch in St Lucia offers them an opportunity to go after the hosts’ bowlers. The left-arm spin duo of Akeal Hosein and Gudakesh Motie will be crucial for West Indies against England’s predominantly right-handed batting line-up.

Despite the pitch favouring batters, the extra bounce provides an advantage for the quicks, making left-arm medium pacer Obed McCoy’s role important. West Indies will rely on their home advantage and momentum, but they must be wary of the defending champions, who cannot be underestimated.

Match details

June 20, St Lucia, 6am IST

Probable XIs

West Indies: Johnson Charles, Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran (Wk), Roston Chase, Rovman Powell (C), Sherfane Rutherford, Andre Russell, Romario Shepherd, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie

England: Jos Buttler (C/Wk), Phil Salt, Will Jacks, Jonny Bairstow, Harry Brook, Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Jofra Archer, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Reece Topley