ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

England v West Indies, World Cup 2011, Chennai

West Indies bank on Gayle factor

England have the superior head-to-head record against West Indies in recent times, but West Indies have Chris Gayle, who has been outstanding in ODIs in India

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan

March 16, 2011

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Chris Gayle works the ball through the leg side, West Indies v Bangladesh, Champions Trophy, Jaipur, October 11, 2006
Chris Gayle has hit more ODI hundreds in India than any other visiting batsman © AFP
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Players/Officials: Chris Gayle
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup

Shock defeats against Ireland and Bangladesh, and Bangladesh's subsequent win over Netherlands, have left England in a must-win situation in their final group game against West Indies. The two teams come into this crucial fixture having had contrasting runs of form. While West Indies have had a more consistent run so far, their wins have come against the lower-ranked teams. A heavy loss to South Africa in their first game was followed by three relatively easy wins against Netherlands, Bangladesh and Ireland. In what was expected to be a tight game against Bangladesh, West Indies bowled the hosts out for just 58 and wrapped up a comfortable victory.

England, on the other hand, performed very poorly against Bangladesh and Ireland but raised their game against India and South Africa. While their game against India ended in a high-scoring tie in Bangalore, they kept their nerve to triumph by six runs in a low-scoring encounter against South Africa in Chennai. Their performance against top teams and the win in Chennai should give England some confidence ahead of the do-or-die clash, despite the various concerns with illness and fatigue.

England also have an excellent record against West Indies in global tournaments. After the loss in the 1979 World Cup final, their only other loss came in the Champions Trophy final in 2004. The previous meeting in the World Cup ended in a one-wicket win for England. England will, however, miss Kevin Pietersen, who top-scored in their previous two wins against West Indies in global tournaments. England, who were second-best in head-to-head ODIs before 2005, have been the better team since and have capitalised on the consistent decline of West Indies.

England v West Indies in ODIs
Played Won Lost W/L ratio
Overall 82 37 41 0.90
Between Jan 1990 and Dec 2004 37 15 18 0.82
Since Jan 2005 12 8 4 2.00
In World Cup 5 4 1 4.00
Champions Trophy 2 1 1 1.00

In home ODIs since the start of 2008, England have been the better batting side, with a higher average and run-rate. West Indies have been slightly more economical, although their bowling average is higher. Both teams have been ordinary in away ODIs in the same period, particularly West Indies, who have a win-loss ratio of 0.31. The huge difference between the batting and bowling averages is an indication of West Indies' troubles in recent years. However, West Indies have one of the best records among visiting teams in ODIs in India. England, on the other hand, have won just seven and lost 16 of the ODIs played in India since 2000.

Batting and bowling records of both teams
Team Period Matches W/L ratio Runs/wicket (batting) Run rate Runs/wicket (bowling) Economy rate Average diff Run rate diff
England(home) 2008-2011 32 1.14 30.97 5.28 28.94 5.00 2.03 0.28
West Indies(home) 2008-2011 32 0.57 29.41 5.15 30.35 4.95 -0.94 0.20
England(away) 2008-2011 40 0.76 30.87 5.21 33.17 5.48 -2.30 -0.27
West Indies(away) 2008-2011 33 0.31 26.11 4.96 34.27 5.21 -8.16 -0.25
England(in India) 2000-2011 20 0.33 26.48 5.12 38.37 5.45 -11.91 -0.33
West Indies(in India) 2000-2011 19 1.11 37.96 5.31 33.75 5.29 4.21 0.02

England, having started with impressive batting performances against Netherlands and India, collapsed for low scores against South Africa and Bangladesh. Eoin Morgan, Pietersen's replacement, was superb against Bangladesh, but Pietersen could be missed because of his excellent record in matches against West Indies in big tournaments. Andrew Strauss, who scored a superb century against India in the tie in Bangalore, has been the highest run-getter in ODIs for England since 2008. Ian Bell and the exceptionally consistent Jonathan Trott form the core of a powerful England middle order.

Chris Gayle has been the mainstay of West Indies' batting for more than seven years now. Since 2008, he has been their highest run-getter in ODIs, with nearly 1800 runs at an average of 40 and a strike-rate approaching 100. Shivnarine Chanderpaul, playing his fifth World Cup, along with the experienced Ramnaresh Sarwan, needs to make bigger contributions for West Indies to progress further in the tournament. The class of Darren Bravo and the power hitting of Kieron Pollard is a big plus for a West Indian batting line-up that is missing Adrian Barath and Dwayne Bravo.

Gayle, one of the most explosive openers in ODIs, has been central to West Indies' fortunes in major matches over the years. Of his 19 centuries, nine have been scored in ODI defeats, which is second only to Sachin Tendulkar's tally of 13 centuries in defeats. Gayle has a stunning record in India with over 1000 runs at an average of 56.52. In the Champions Trophy 2006 in India, Gayle scored 101 in a close loss against England and a match-winning 133 in the semi-final against South Africa. He also took the game away from Australia in the World Twenty20 in 2009 with a quickfire 88 off 50 balls. Gayle has scored at over five runs per over against both pace and spin in the last few years and will be the key batsman in the important clash.

The Gayle factor
Matches Runs 100 50 Average Strike rate
Overall 226 8036 19 43 39.20 83.68
in India 21 1074 6 3 56.52 92.16
v England 24 903 2 4 43.00 79.91
in global tournaments 32 1248 4 4 43.03 82.37

Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann have been the standout bowlers in an otherwise uninspiring England bowling attack. The loss of Stuart Broad, the highest wicket-taker in the last three years, has been a major one. James Anderson, who has conceded more than 70 on two occasions in this tournament and been very expensive overall, bowled superbly to secure a victory in the tight game against South Africa. On a track in Chennai likely to assist spin, England might be tempted to play Swann and the accurate Michael Yardy.

Kemar Roach's quality pace and Sulieman Benn's variations have provided West indies with quality options in their bowling. Benn especially has been very hard to score off because of his height and trajectory, and will be a threat on a spin-friendly Chennai track. With Darren Sammy, Pollard and Gayle capable of some restrictive bowling, the West Indies attack is a fairly useful one in subcontinent conditions.

England have been the better batting side across different phases of an innings in the last three years. While they have scored at a higher rate in the first 15 overs, West Indies have been more economical. The teams are more evenly matched in the middle overs in terms of their batting and bowling run-rates. West Indies have been the better side in the final overs, with a run-rate difference of 0.17 as compared to England, who have a corresponding figure of -0.22.

Performance across the innings for both teams in all matches since 2008
Team Period(overs) Batting average Run rate Bowling average Economy rate Run rate difference
England 0-15 40.02 5.02 38.43 4.93 0.09
West Indies 0-15 35.24 4.54 35.33 4.79 -0.25
England 16-40 34.79 4.88 32.94 4.88 0.00
West Indies 16-40 28.56 4.86 39.91 4.80 0.06
England 41-50 18.55 7.12 22.24 7.34 -0.22
West Indies 41-50 17.09 7.20 21.74 7.03 0.17

Chennai, the venue for the game, has been one of the few bowler-friendly venues in India over the last few years. Among Indian grounds that have hosted at least eight matches since 2000, Chennai has had the lowest runs scored per wicket. It has been the one of the best venues for pace bowlers and spinners over the years. Since 2000, teams batting first have won three matches and lost four. There has been no significant advantage in batting first in day-night games either: in the last four day-night matches, the wins have been shared equally between the team batting first and the team chasing.


Comments: 4 
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Posted by Dummy4 on (March 17, 2011, 6:40 GMT)

No way England can beat WI this time... They are not consistent and must be low in confidence after bringing themselves to this situation...

Posted by deepak on (March 17, 2011, 6:31 GMT)

Gayle is not at its best in this world cup, probably smith or bravo would do it for west indies. I would say west indies have to bowl first with kemar roach and sulemann benn in their team...whay u say

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 17, 2011, 4:14 GMT)

Maybe that's the reason Chennai does not get as much matches as the others. One Days should be just a batsmen's game right?

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 16, 2011, 17:37 GMT)

england gonna fire and will qualify thru to quarter final... i am hopeful and quite sure....

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