West Indies v England
Sunday 5 March 13.30
TV: live on Sky Sports
On the face of it a 45-run win looks cosy enough in game one. But in truth it was a bit tighter than that and the tourists should be grateful for the nous of Eoin Morgan whose century was the difference.
Morgan, on a wicket which appeared a little two paced, shone - as you would expect from a guy who has vast experience in limited-overs in all parts of the world. Sam Billings made a fifty. That was timely as he was under pressure for his place from Jonny Bairstow.
Ben Stokes also notched a half-century while Moeen Ali's late blitz gave them much-needed acceleration.
With the ball England were rather predictable although Liam Plunkett and Chris Woakes will take the plaudits with four wickets each.
This lot are a third-string Windies line-up. There is no Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Fletcher, Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy, Denesh Ramdin, Sunil Narine, Samuel Badree. Any more?
So considering that it was a fine effort to still be in the hunt chasing 297. They were firmly in the mix with ten overs to go with big hitters waiting to come in. And ENgland would have been nervy given their record in the field last. But they folded sadly in the end.
Jason Mohammed and Jon Carter looked like pulling off a superb heist with half-centuries and they are ones to watch for the rest of the show.
With the ball, they need more from Dev Bishoo. It is a black mark for any spin bowler indeed when they go for more than eight an over against England.
There have now been 14 ODI matches at North Sound. Game one was the first under lights but there doesn't seem to be a disadvantage chasing considering Windies made a decent fist of it. Still, the scores in all those games (most recent first) read: 296-303-159-269-249-225-300-380-247-235-174-104(22 overs)-177-322.
The match odds market has given a nod of respect to the hosts as if to say 'you weren't as bad as we thought'. Still, it's hardly a volte face. They are into [3.5] from [3.7]. England are [1.28].
Realistically we are looking at trading options. But with a caveat. West Indies are going to have to chase as we are still wholly convinced of England's ability to defend. They were just a few lusty blows from being in dire trouble.
There is no Windies trade if England chase because they are so strong we expect them to chase anything up to 360. But you can use that analysis to play the odds if the hosts bat first, of course.
We had a winner on the first 15 overs score last time, backing England. But they only got up by one run which suggests the 4/6 wasn't that great a bet.
Top West Indies runscorer
Mohammed and Carter will be popular for support but Evin Lewis has shown in the last year that he has ability against top attacks so we're expecting a score from him at soime stage. Likewise Jason Holder, who could come in at big odds at some stage.
Top England runscorer
We wouldn't put you off backing Morgan again here. He has the wicket in his pocket it would seem. We are not keen on the blasters who need it coming on. Joe Root, who of course can do it all, would be the only other bet we would cosnider.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017.
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