These two sides have been permanent fixtures since the World Cup began. They played out the final of the second tournament in 1979 and games between England and West Indies are always likely to bring out plenty of thrills and drama.
On Friday, they renew their battle at Southampton’s Rose Bowl and while the Windies have been impressive in this tournament, they are very much the outside bet.
England is back to winning ways following its crushing victory over Bangladesh and Eoin Morgan’s men start this game as clear favorites. The host nation is on offer at -300 while the Windies are available at +250.
While England may appear the obvious favorite, the market should, perhaps, be a little closer than that. The Windies crushed Pakistan in their opener and will have considered themselves unlucky in the followup defeat to Australia but can they upset the odds here?
Both sides are relying on all-out pace in this clash and while the West Indies have traditionally excelled in this area, England may just have the edge this time. Against Bangladesh, Jofra Archer bowled the fastest ball of the tournament so far at 95 miles per hour and his strike partner Mark Wood wasn’t far behind.
The English selectors can also look to include Liam Plunkett for more pace and some extra bounce so this really is a serious set of seamers. West Indies may feel they can match their opponents in this department with Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas and Jason Holder part of another attack that relies on pace above all else.
The key, therefore, to this entire game lies in the respective batting units and their ability to cope with that speed and hostility.
We could be far more specific and say that the battle comes down to two men. England drew 2-2 with the West Indies when these sides played out an ODI series earlier this year. England’s batters scored heavily but the bowlers were expensive and the Windies matched them in the batting department for much of that series.
Since then, a change in qualification rules has allowed England to add Barbados-born Jofra Archer to their squad. He’s quick and hostile but that hostility masks an ability to keep the runs down, which has the capacity to drastically improve England’s economy rate.
At the other end of the pitch is Chris Gayle, who top-scored in that ODI series and has maintained some level of form at the start of this World Cup. The West Indies is not a one-man team by any means but Gayle is vital wicket if England is to claim the points.
We suspect England will have a plan and the early dismissal of Chris Gayle will set up victory but the game could be much closer than those win odds suggest.
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ICC World Cup News
Odds Shark Staff Thu, Feb 17, 9:14amICC World Cup