After the agony of the Test series, England started the ODIs in blazing fashion hunting down a 361-run target with relative ease. They, however, failed in their pursuit of a relatively easier chase of 290 in the second encounter. What will frustrate the visitors, even more, is the fact that they were well on course in the chase at 228/4 before a collapse saw them lose their last six wickets for just 35 runs and they were bowled out for 263.
With a handful of matches to go, England, who are the No.1 side in the world in ODIs, will have to be wary of such slip-ups as they know one such mistake could potentially cost them the title. While the batsmen have given a good account of themselves in both games so far, the bowlers have been a disappointment.
The likes of Liam Plunkett and Tom Curran haven't bowled a consistent length as yet and while Mark Wood was economical in the second ODI he went for quite a few in the opening game. Moeen Ali as well has been off his radar in both outings though Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid have been the shining light. Stokes, in particular, has been brilliant with both bat and ball. In both games where batsmen have gone hammer and tongs, Stokes has kept his composure. With the bat too he has scored quite a few useful runs coming in at No.5
Morgan will sincerely hope his bowlers can step up in the final few games and restrict the scoring rate. On the batting front, while everyone has chipped in nicely so far, Morgan will want his batsmen to not falter in key stages something he lamented after the second ODI as well.
“It’s international cricket, you’ve got to hurt sides when you get on top. We didn’t and they came back and took wickets consistently," he said. "We were probably in a better position than we were in the first game. But a game is never won right until the end. We just left a little bit too much to do."
Windies, on the other hand, have been good but more than a collective effort it has been individual brilliance that has done the job for them. If it was Chris Gayle's blitzkrieg in the first encounter that got them to 360, Shimron Hetmyer's fourth ODI century backed up by Sheldon Cottrell's five-wicket haul saw them over the line in the second ODI.
Jason Holder will hope for a more combined effort from his side if he harbours hopes of toppling the No 1 side in the world and claiming the series. For starters Holder himself will have to chip in a bit more, at least with the bat. He has scored just 16 and 3 so far in the series and with a longish tail if the top order fails to fire, the captain will have to take responsibility and take his side forward.
The good news before the World Cup though is that Gayle has struck form. He started off the series with a stroke-filled 135 and followed it up with another half-century. Hetmyer seems to be a real find for the Windies and him being in form gives a major boost to their chances.
In the bowling department, the Windies are massively missing the experience of Kemar Roach at the start. While Cottrell filled up nicely in the last game, Oshane Thomas and Carlos Brathwaite will want to do a tad bit more with the opportunities they have got.
The hosts will also take heart from their record at National Cricket Stadium where they have won five of their last five games. The venue is a high-scoring one and the surface is once again expected to be excellent for shot-making. There are showers predicted in Grenada on Monday so the weather will also be on the back of both captains when they step out for the toss.
England: Eoin Morgan(c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
Windies: Fabian Allen, Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder(c), Shai Hope, John Campbell, Ashley Nurse, Carlos Brathwaite, Nicholas Pooran, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas
adil rashidBen Stokeschris gayleeoin morganMoeen AliSheldon CottrellShimron Hetmyerwest indies vs england 2019
First Published: February 24, 2019, 4:37 PM IST