West Indies v England Second ODI: Get ready for another batting assault
Ed Hawkins previews game two from Bridgetown on Friday and says it could be a carbon copy of the first match at the same venue...
"We have always said, like a terrier on speed, England can chase anything"
West Indies v England
Friday February 22 15.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Windies blown away
At the halfway point of the first ODI, one could be forgiven for thinking that West Indies had undergone another extraordinary transformation from also-rans to world beaters.
The 360 they posted included a record-breaking haul of 23 sixes and a 129-ball 135 from Chris Gayle, the Universe Boss himself. What could possibly go wrong?
Unfortunately, for some time their bowling has been powder-puff. It is the chief reason they were forced to qualify for the World Cup and haven't won a series for almost five years. And you can't be ineffective with the ball against England.
Only Ashley Nurse and Jason Holder offered a semblance of control, both achieving economy rates of under seven an over, and it is unfortunate they can not bring back Kemar Roach, who is injured. Sheldon Cottrell, offering a difficult angle, is a possible starter.
England need to do better in field
You can call England one-dimensional if you like - one suspects the truly great ODI teams would never have allowed West Indies to go so big - but they are nerveless chasers. We have always said, like a terrier on speed, they can chase anything and given that once Jason Roy had got them off to a blitzing start they were playing within themselves rather.
It was extraordinary how easy they found what was, for them, a record chase. And unless a wicket is slow or turning big, there seems little point in batting first against them if an opposition skip gets the chance.
West Indies should be buoyed by how they were able to tuck into the bowling unit. Adil Rashid, despite three wickets, bowled with few smarts and Ben Stokes was used too late in the day. He will have the ball thrown to him before Liam Plunkett one would have thought.
Bowlers fodder again
We're back in Bridgetown again for this one and viewers of game one would have probably spotted the strip right next to the batting-friendly wicket. It looked exactly the same - baked mud. At first it was a little sluggish - John Cameron was early on a few of his shot, one which led to his downfall - but once the sun baked it the surface got better and better. Batting first 350 should be a minimum. And we'd look to take [1.70] of 330 or more regardless of who bats first.
Trade smart on match odds
West Indies are [3.60] and England [1.34]. It's not quite the tepid betting heat that those odds suggest, however. The road-like batting wicket could see to that.
Our strategy for game one paid off in-running, betting England in a chase from [1.70] or bigger. As it turned out, they were outsiders at the break. We would bet England to chase up to 370 if they had to bowl first again.
It is a trickier call if West Indies chase. Taking the [3.6] at the start could look foolish very quickly. In other words, once the likes of Roy and Jonny Bairstow start the blitzkrieg those odds head north quickly. So it would be better to wait to see what the Windies can go after.
The upper limit would probably be 330. They managed to tie with India in October going after 322 and got up to win with an over to spare against Pakistan in April 2017 when set 308. Still, that is their only win in the last four years from 14 attempts when conceding 300.
Gayle will retire after the World Cup and it may be that the game has passed him by. A ton at a strike rate of 104 used to be groundbreaking. Not any more. Gayle played out 55 dot balls, Roy 18 in their respective tons. On a wicket as good as that, Gayle, bizarrely, probably cost his team the game. He is 13/5 for top WI runscorer but Shai Hope, who was more fluent and was actually able to run between the wickets, looks an infinitely better bet.
Our analysis of the top England runscorer market before game one didn't pay dividends but we would still favour Bairstow over Roy because the former wins more often than the latter. Bairstow is out to 7/2 with Betfair Sportsbook. Value. Roy is 7/2 and Joe Root, who also notched a century, is the 13/5 favourite.
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. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l
Back England in-running batting second at [1.70] or better