Unpredictable teams hard to second guess
September 27, 2012
Start time 19.30 local (1400GMT/1500BST)
The Big Picture
You never really know what you will get from either of these two teams. West Indies can take apart any bowling line-up but can also let it slip in the field. England can live with the best teams on their day but also lose in embarrassing style. It makes for a fascinating contest.
West Indies have yet to play a full game in this tournament after losing on D/L against Australia and then rain arrived before they could bat against Ireland. It means, like England in 2010, they have progressed without winning a game yet remain a challenger for the title. This time England have managed a victory, but it is their crushing defeat against India which is the game most are talking about.
Darren Sammy could barely contain his smile as he spoke about the potential of Sunil Narine bowling against England in the Super Eights. His confidence is not misplaced. And that is before West Indies' batting power is considered. England's bowling attack is their strength; it will be sorely tested by Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard and the rest.
The most recent Twenty20 meeting between these two teams ended with England completing their highest T20 chase at Trent Bridge but that was at the tail-end of a tough tour for West Indies. Perhaps a more relevant match to consider is the second of the back-to-back encounters at The Oval last year when a young England side - featuring a number of players in the current squad - were dismantled for 88 on a pitch offering some turn.
Still, for all the familiar questions posed by the defeat against India it does not have to be terminal to England's hopes. The side have responded to adversity in the past and fortunes can change very quickly. A charge for the title looks unlikely, but that was also so in 2010.
Form guide(Most recent first, completed matches)
West Indies LWWLW
Watch out for...
It is often said that a players' standing grows in his absence and that was certainly the case for Samit Patel when he was left out against India. His left-arm spin would have been very useful and he is one of the more competent batsmen in the squad against spin - although on recent evidence that judgement is starting at a low base. He at least has the wrist work to place the ball into the gaps and the confidence to use his feet. But he is only one player.
When Sunil Narine was unleashed on England earlier this year it did not go very well for him. In a Test, two ODIs and a Twenty20 he managed a solitary wicket. The expectation won't have helped and he was also battling the damp conditions of an English summer. The challenge for England in Pallekele will be very different. Not that it is likely to spin square, but it does not have to to dumfound England's batsmen. He just needs to be careful about his front foot. There are no excuses for overstepping.
Patel is likely to return in place of Tim Bresnan to give the side a more balanced look. A complete rethink of tactics is unlikely, although Danny Briggs would be an interesting option if he could be slotted in. Michael Lumb and Ravi Bopara are the other batting choices, but the current top six will probably be given another chance.
England (probable) 1 Craig Kieswetter (wk), 2 Alex Hales, 3 Luke Wright, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Jonny Bairstow, 6 Jos Buttler, 7 Samit Patel, 8 Stuart Broad (capt), 9 Graeme Swann, 10 Steven Finn, 11 Jade Dernbach
Dwayne Bravo missed the Ireland game with a groin strain and will slot back in, probably for Andre Russell, if fit again which is looking likely after he came through a net session. There will be a temptation to play the legspinner Samuel Badree although that would mean leaving out either Ravi Rampaul or Fidel Edwards who both bowled well against Ireland.
West Indies (probable) 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Johnson Charles, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 Darren Sammy, 8 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Ravi Rampaul, 11 Fidel Edwards
Pitch and conditions
There was some pace and bounce in the match between Pakistan and Bangladesh - enough for Bangladesh to get carried away with the short ball - which encouraged stroke-making and that bodes well for the Super Eights. What does not bode so well is the continuing threat of rain and as far as that goes it is just a case of fingers crossed.
Stats and trivia
- In a neat coincidence, West Indies qualified for the Super Eights by scoring 191 in a rain-affected defeat then having a no result against Ireland, which is exactly what happened to England in 2010.
- England and West Indies have played eight times in T20Is with West Indies 5-3 up on the head-to-head.
"Winning World Cups is about winning the important games. There is no point playing like a dream all the way through to the semi-final and losing that one, so it is about developing momentum."
Stuart Broad again makes the point that England picked a good game to have a shocker against India
"I think everyone who comes on to bowl has a big part to play, but Sunil is our trump card. He has done well for us, and we hope he'll have a big impact on the English batting line-up."
Darren Sammy looks forward the prospect of unleashing West Indies' mystery spinner
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo