Ed Hawkins previews the showpiece in Kolkata on Sunday and expects the toss to be key with both sides keen on a chase
"West Indies are the better all-round team chiefly because they have two spinners in Badree and Benn who could damage England."
Back side batting second
England v West Indies
Sunday April 3, 14:30
TV: Live on Sky Sports 2
England are the living embodiment of the chaotic and unpredictable format that is Twenty20. They were pilloried at the break when they faced a record score to overhaul against South Africa, and there were a few not too impressed when they collapsed against Afghanistan.
But boy they are thrilling. Not to mention dangerous. It could be argued that the English have never produced such a reckless or carefree national team in any sport.
After bullying New Zealand, who were supposed to be the brains trust in this tournament, England will surely stick with the same XI.
That means Liam Plunkett will keep Reece Topley on the sidelines. That is the only switch from when the sides met earlier on - Chris Gayle destroyed their attack with a ton in Mumbai.
West indies could have been forgiven for thinking that the loss of Andre Fletcher was a blow before the semi against India. But considering Lendl Simmons came in and he blazed away to lead them to the final, they will take confidence from strength in depth.
Indeed, just imagine if Kieron Pollard, Darren Bravo and Sunil Narine had been available for the Windies. They are emphatically not a one-man team as Chris Gayle's failure at the Wankhede proved.
Fletcher is out so West Indies are also likely to be unchanged. In Samuel Badree and Suliemann Benn they have the Nos 2 and 3 on the most economical bowlers' list. Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell are canny with bat or ball.
The first-innings scores (most recent first with 1/2 denoting game won by side batting first or second) in the last four matches at the tournament read: 145-1/118-2/153-2/201-1. The seven matches in the last IPL season at the Gardens produced the following: 202-1/183-2/171-1/167-1/165-2/177-2/168-2. That is an average of 176. Together that gives us a mark of 168.
England are 2.0621/20 and West Indies 1.9310/11. It is one of the closest world finals in terms of odds for some time. And there is very little to choose between the teams.
Indeed, whoever wins the trophy could be decided by the toss of a coin because both outfits are good at chasing.
England will be desperate to bat second, largely because they have been shown to be poor judges of what a good score is - not an insignificant factor on a wicket which could be good or sluggish to bat on. They are also profligate in the field when defending.
West Indies are the better all-round team chiefly because they have two spinners in Badree and Benn who could damage England. Their importance is explained in more detail here.
In short, though, West Indies appear more likely to win batting first or second because they have two spinners who are capable of turning the screw while England do not.
Does that make Windies value? Probably because they will care less what happens at the toss. The problem is that England are so darn good at going after a score that maybe they should be worried.
Another key factor is the weather. A thunderstorm is forecast. Pakistan noticed how important rain was before their contest against India when it changed the nature of the wicket from flat to sluggish.
Top England runscorer
If we forget the teams that qualified England have three of the top four runscorers in the tournament - Joe Root, Jason Roy and Jos Buttler. They are 4.1, 4.3100/30 and 7.413/2. Alex Hales at 4.3100/30 is the odd man out with just 65 runs in four innings.
Top West Indies runscorer
Gayle has a ton on this ground for Bangalore in the IPL and he has form against England this tournament. But it's no surprise he's 3.412/5. Simmons top scored for Mumbai in last year's IPL final with 68 and will go off around 5.04/1.
Back side batting second
Ed Hawkins P/L
To £10 level stakes (unless otherwise stated), based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate.
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