West Indies v England Second T20 Betting: It's all on the toss
Ed Hawkins says the chaser has found life easier in T20s in Basseterre and it's a significant pointer for the Friday night clash...
"We were with England for that game but it was purely an odds-based bet. We see very little difference in ability between the two teams"
West Indies v England
Friday 8 March 20:00
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Windies need to bounce back
West Indies let down punters in game one, disappointing from skinny odds. They were well beaten in the end failing to win batting first for the sixth time in their last ten attempts. They have an identical record batting second, which exposes the poor value that they were.
In Gros Islet, Windies never recovered from a wicket-laden start. Chris Gayle, Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer - the big three - were all back in the hutch by the fifth over with only 37 on the board. It prevented them from the sort of monstrous total one suspects a bowling attack which has struggled for discipline requires.
Still, they fought hard to post a challenging 160. Nic Pooran was exceptional, blasting 58 from 37. Darren Bravo and Ashley Nurse offered support.
In the field they never looked like defending with leaks springing up all over the place. They would have been heartened by Sheldon Cottrell's three-wicket display, though.
Andre Russell will not play. He has been omitted from the squad due to injury which is a significant blow. Pacer Obed McCoy comes in.
England did not miss Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jason Roy or Moeen Ali as their batting fired to negotiate a tricky chase. Jonny Bairstow, finally finding form, top scored and his rapid rate meant they were under no pressure.
Joe Denly and Sam Billings kept the scoreboard ticking over, although both should be disappointed they did not finish the job. The pair fell within three balls of each other to cause a mini panic. David Willey and Tom Curran got them home.
Despite losing six wickets the result did not look in doubt, largely because of how deep England bat - all the way down to No 11 with Adil Rashid. It's always worth remembering when considering a bet what resources a team have to come if they are four or five down early.
England could make changes. Joe Root deserves a rest and needs one. His duck further reinforced the view that this format is not for him. Dawid Malan should be playing giving his exceptional record. He averages 50 and has a strike rate of 160.
Sam Curran might game a game in place of Liam Plunkett. Or there could be a return for Mark Wood.
Bias for the chaser
Followers of the Caribbean Premier League will know there is a significant toss bias at Basseterre (pictured) in favour of the chaser. And in all matches in the last nine years it bottoms out at 61%. The last five scores read (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second, most recent first): 168-2/206-2/199-1/168-2/143-2.
Toss to make all the difference
West Indies are [1.97] and England [2.02]. That's more like it from pre-match odds of [1.70] West Indies in Gros Islet.
We were with England for that game but it was purely an odds-based bet. We see very little difference in ability between the two teams even if England have a superior record. Both outfits are hamstrung by absentees (West Indies' best wicket-takers are unavailable) to level the playing field.
Therefore, we are grateful then for a toss bias providing the definitive edge. In a choice affair like this it should make all the difference and we will bet according - go with the chaser.
Gayle at home
Pooran has a spot of ground form. He notched 44 from 32 for Barbados last time out. The 13/2 (Sportsbook)that he top scores for WI will appeal. This is also Gayle's home ground in the CPL for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots. Naturally, he strikes well there. The 9/4 that he tops is, technically, value on career form.
Root could miss out
Sportsbook can't make up their mind about top England bat. And who can blame them. From 3/1 jolly favs Bairstow and Alex Hales to fifth favourite Eoin Morgan just a point separates them. Malan is 10/3 and Root 7/2, who should lose his No 3 spot to Malan.. Denly and Billings are 15/2 and 11/1 respectively.
Back side batting second at [1.90] or better (2pts)