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A file photo of Jofra Archer (Photo: Reuters)
A file photo of Jofra Archer (Photo: Reuters)

ICC Cricket World Cup: It’s Archer versus Gayle as England, West Indies renew rivalry

  • If the West Indies do get a crack at England in Southampton, it’s the ideal setting to settle scores with the favourites, whose pace spearhead happens to be a West Indian import.
  • Mint tells you what to look out for in Game 19 of the World Cup

Weather forecasts have taken precedence over match predictions as the sun plays peek-a-boo in England. However, if the West Indies do get a crack at England in Southampton, it’s the ideal setting to settle scores with the favourites, whose pace spearhead happens to be a West Indian import. Mint tells you what to look out for in Game 19 of the World Cup.

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Bounce and seam movement

The Rose Bowl in Southampton was where India started their World Cup campaign by reducing South Africa to 227 for 9. This Monday, the Proteas were headed for a similar fate against the West Indies—with Sheldon Cottrell snapping off two salutes for the wickets of Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram—but were saved by the rain. The Windies will hope to win the toss again and put England in to bat, helping Cottrell and Co. exploit the bounce and seam movement on the pitch. Of course, England too can rock the Windies with the 150-kph speeds of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood.

Jofra Archer’s switched loyalties

That England’s pace spearhead is somebody who migrated recently from the West Indies brings a new emotion into the encounter. Archer played for the West Indies Under-19 team, but felt frustrated when he couldn’t get into the senior side after an injury layoff. He started playing in English counties and T20 leagues before being fast-tracked into eligibility to represent England in the World Cup. This is his first outing against the country of his birth. The West Indies, for their part, will be eager to pay him back for switching loyalties.

Let Russell replace an all-rounder

Kemar Roach, who came into the game against South Africa as a replacement for Andre Russell, kept up pressure from his end, while Cottrell struck with the new ball. The burly Oshane Thomas is good as the first change with his raw pace. Russell, whose pool work out videos have raised hopes of him coming back into the playing eleven, will add to the firepower with short bursts. The West Indies would be better off if he replaces one of the all-rounders, Carlos Brathwaite or Ashley Nurse, instead of Roach. That will help keep the pressure on the England batting.

More balanced side

England have the more balanced side, with the spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali lending variety to the attack. Ali missed the game in Cardiff where England preferred to go for more pace against Bangladesh by including Wood. They would want Ali in the bigger ground at Southampton where India’s spinners did well in the middle overs. He may replace medium pace all-rounder Chris Woakes so that Wood is retained.

The best is yet to come

So far, it’s the West Indies pacers who have brought back memories of the time when the team dominated world cricket. Chris Gayle and Russell have only showed glimpses of what they’re capable of with the bat. They will want to set the record straight against England who have beaten the them in every World Cup match after losing the final to Clive Lloyd’s team in 1979.

Sumit Chakraberty is the author of 2019 Cricket World Cup Thinking Cap.

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