Windies in pursuit of WC spot against confident England

A five-match One-Day International series tagged on to the end of a season which has been seemingly never-ending could be regarded as overkill. Hasn’t there been enough cricket already? But for Windies, this series which begins on Tuesday (September 19) at Old Trafford, carries great importance for their hopes of automatically qualifying for the 2019 World Cup.

Windies need to win this series 4-1 to move up to eighth place in the world rankings. That would grant them automatic qualification and ensure they do not have to take part in the perilous qualifier tournament with another ten countries which looks likely to be held in Zimbabwe next year. Only two teams from that will progress to the reduced ten-team World Cup so Windies will want to avoid that if at all possible.

Winning by such a margin against a strong England team in their home conditions is extremely unlikely despite the return of Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels to the tourists’ squad, in the former’s case for the first time since 2015. Their T20 victory over England at Durham on Saturday proved what an experienced and skillful team they are in the shortest format but they are ranked ninth in ODI cricket for a reason, not having won an ODI series since 2014.

This is England’s first ODI since their semifinal defeat to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy earlier this summer. They have retained most of the squad who took part in that tournament – only Tom Curran is uncapped – which is recognition that their selection and tactics are more or less where they need to be in 50-over cricket. In Cardiff, against a rampant Pakistan, it was England’s execution which let them down but the fundamentals are there.

The home side, currently ranked fourth in the world, are building for the 2019 World Cup too, although they will be one of the automatic qualifiers whatever happens in the next two weeks. England welcome back Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali who were all rested for the T20I and will be in a confident mood, having won six of their last seven bilateral ODI series which included a 3-0 victory over Windies in the Caribbean in March.

When: Tuesday 19 September, 2017; 12:30 UK Time

Where: Old Trafford, Manchester

What to expect: The forecast is set fair for the day-night match but it will still be chilly during the evening. The pitch will offer some seam movement to the seamers early on given the time of year and the wet weather which has been around. But Old Trafford is renowned for its pace and carry too, so the batsmen should be able to play their shots.

Team News

England

Captain Eoin Morgan has decided to stick with Johnny Bairstow at the top of the order after he replaced Jason Roy during the Champions Trophy. Roy has scored just 51 runs in his last eight ODIs and was out first ball of the T20. Even though he has been an integral part of the ODI setup for the last two years, the skipper has given his backing to Bairstow ahead of the game. In the seam attack, Chris Woakes will open the bowling with Jake Ball probably partnering him which means David Willey and Curran missing out.

Windies

Windies will have a very different side compared to the one which played the T20 in Durham. Jason Holder returns to captain but Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine, man of the match on Saturday, have not stayed for the ODIs. Evin Lewis and Gayle, who put on 77 in just over six overs in the T20, will open the batting and Shai Hope, fresh from his brilliant Test series, should bat at four. Devendra Bishoo and Ashley Nurse will provide the spin options with Jerome Taylor and Kesrick Williams sharing the new ball.

Squads:

England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Jos Buttler (wk), Tom Curran, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes.

Windies: Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Miguel Cummins, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder (captain), Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed (Vice Captain), Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor and Kesrick Williams.

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