Both sides are looking to bounce back from damaging stretches of form that raised questions about the direction they are heading in. The series is currently locked at one-win apiece after vastly different performances in the first and second games from both. Who will take a series lead heading into the final two matches? Read on for our full West Indies vs England third T20 preview and prediction:
West Indies vs England Third T20 Preview and Prediction
Series So Far
England arrived in the Caribbean reeling from being thrashed 4-0 in Australia in the Ashes. A series so one-sided that England were frankly lucky to escape without being whitewashed. Only Sam Billings was involved in that series and this one, and the former only tangentially, but England nonetheless found themselves in a familiar hole at 27-4 and then 49-7. They eventually managed to reach a vaguely respectable 103, but that was chased down easily enough by the West Indies with nine wickets in hand.
But not for nothing, for all their Test woes, have England established themselves as one of the premier white-ball sides in the world. They fought back in the second match and they fought back hard, posting an imposing 171 on a difficult surface. They then had the West Indies seemingly down an out at 6-57 without a recognised batsman left thanks to incisive bowling from Reece Topley with the new ball and then Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, who shared five wickets between them in the middle overs.
That raised fresh questions of a West Indian batting unit that failed badly at the T20 World Cup. Those questions were in part answered by Romario Shepherd and Akeal Hosein who teed off at the death. Hosein was particularly impressive, hammering 44 runs from just 16 balls as the hosts came to just one run of equalling England’s score. Concerningly for England, both Saqib Mahmood and Chris Jordan were expensive, with only a superb 19th over from Topley saving them from potential embarrassment.
Both sides look settled at this point in the series – if not entirely convincing. England will almost certainly persist with the opening combination of Jason Roy and Tom Banton, followed by James Vince, Ali and Eoin Morgan, with keeper-batter Billings in at six. Liam Livingstone may have recovered from illness to replace Liam Dawson at seven, with the side rounded out by Jordan, Adil Rashid, Mahmood and Topley. Tymal Mills is an option to replace Mahmood, however, after his struggles.
The West Indies weren’t able to back up their excellent first match performance, but don’t expect them to ring the changes after coming so close. Shai Hope and Brandon King should maintain their opening partnership, with Nicholas Pooran – still in need of a score – and Darren Bravo in next. Kieron Pollard and Jason Holder will bat at five and six, with Fabian Allen at seven, Odean Smith at eight, Shepherd at nine and Hosein at ten all capable with the bat. Sheldon Cottrell at 11 less so.
A fresh pitch has been readied for this game, which could see easier batting conditions. If that is the case, expect the West Indies to take advantage. England are a very fine side, but even with Livingstone potentially back in the mix, they are short some of their most destructive batters. By contrast, the hosts showed just how deep their batting stocks are. If they can just get a little more out of their top order, expect them to have about enough to account for England in Bridgetown.
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