West Indies v England
Saturday 22 January 20.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
West Indies are low on confidence after a 2-1 reverse in the ODI series against Ire-land. A result like that would have caused shockwaves back in the day but not any more.
The hosts are trying to rebuild after they produced a desperately disappointing World T20 performance. There is no Andre Russell (who is playing in the Bangladesh Premier League), Shimron Hetmyer or Oshane Thomas.
Instead, Nic Pooran will be entrusted with the main man role, batting at No 3. Kieron Pollard, who could bat between No 4 and 6, lurks dangerously. He could propel West Indies with a late charge given his phenomenal striking.
They have a group of exciting pace-bowling all-rounders. Dominic Drakes, Romario Shepherd and Odean Smith are nippy and can hit a long ball. It could be West indies have hit upon a new formula.
Probable XI: Hope, King, Pooran, Bravo, Pollard, Mayers, Drakes, Shepherd, Odean Smith, Akeal Hosein, Walsh
England still strong
This is not England's first-choice XI. But that's not to say it's weaker. And that goes for either discipline, bat or ball.
Many would argue that the likes of Tom Banton, who might have to sit this one out, and James Vince should be full-time members of the squad. Phil Salt is also on the tour.
The same can be said of Saqib Mahmood, who has been knocking batsmen over at will in the PSL and BBL. In time, he could form a terrifying prospect with Jofra Archer. For now, Tymal Mills leads the group and he is making the most of late England recognition.
We expect England to be far too strong over the series, tipping a 4-1 win. Spin hitters Liam Livingstone and Moeen Ali could be perfectly suited for this contest.
Possible XI: Roy, Vince, Livingstone, Moeen, Morgan, Billings, Garton, Jordan, Rashid, Mills, Mahmood
The Bridgetown surface has not been a belter for the batters in the Caribbean League. In the last two editions of CPL 150 or more has been busted just three times out of ten. Six of those were won by the chaser.
That suggests a sluggish surface. It is unlikely to play into the hands of those batters who like the ball coming on, which is why Livingstone and Moeen could be so dangerous.
In England's one warm-up, they amassed 234 against a Barbados select XI. Now, that could be down to a flat track, a terrible bowling unit or a bit of both. It might pay to keep a watching brief with all five matches played at this venue.
Sportsbook go 15/8 that both teams score 160. That makes us nervous. We'd rather take a chance on England batting first for 170 or more, possibly at 2.1011/10.
West Indies are 2.6813/8 with England 1.584/7. That's a skinny price about England, who still have to earn the right to be such a price given the rotation.
There's plenty of room in the home price for a trade. But it might require some nifty digit work in the first six overs. Brandon King has got to show aggression and intent to force those odds down if they bat first.
West Indies reputation for boundary hitting has been justified down the years. But even so it's a stretch to reckon that they are 1/2 shots to hit most sixes in this game.
Sixes per game last 2 years: Hope 0.3, King 0.75, Pooran 1.5, Mayers 1.2, Bravo 1.3, Pollard 1.8
Sixes per game last 2 years: Roy 0.8, Vince 0.5, Livingstone 1.9, Moeen 1, Morgan 1.1, Billings 0.77
That study suggests the two should be much closer in the betting if those top six batting orders are replicated. England are a value bet at a standout 23/10 with Sportsbook.
The Hawk Eye stats column has returned and it has picked out bets on Pollard at 15/2 and Jason Roy at 7/2. Check out the win rates for the batters and bowlers and bet hereon their respective markets.
West Indies v England special on Cricket...Only Bettor