West Indies v England: ODI Series Preview - 20th Feb

Can England Justify Their Number One World Ranking Against The West Indies?

England’s ODI team will bid to give the nation a lift when they lock horns with the West Indies in a five-match ODI series this month. The Test team just suffered a shock 2-1 series defeat at the hands of Jason Holder’s men and that has left fans feeling rather glum. Yet there is nothing like the arrival of England’s exciting, swashbuckling ODI squad to lift the mood. They are ranked number one in the world after winning their last three series in supremely comfortable fashion and the side will be determined to keep that run going under the Caribbean sun this month.

Last time out, Eoin Morgan led the charge as his team secured a 3-1 series victory over Sri Lanka. He picked up two Player Of The Match awards as they battled difficult conditions amid monsoon season, while Adil Rashid also impressed. In their previous two series they beat India 2-1 and Australia 5-0, proving just why they are the world’s number one team. They are also accustomed to providing a breath of fresh air to proceedings after the Test team’s struggles: after Joe Root and co lost 4-0 in the last Ashes, the ODI side rolled into town and beat the hosts 4-1 to lift the spirits no end.

England fans will hope they can pull off a similar feat in the West Indies this time around. The first ODI gets underway at the Kensington Oval in Barbados on Wednesday, 20th February, with the second taking place two days later at the same stadium. Then there are two more matches in Grenada before the series wraps up with the final ODI in St Lucia on 2nd March.

West Indies Out Of Sorts In One Day Cricket

The West Indies are down in ninth in the world ODI rankings after enduring a miserable couple of years on the results front. The last time they avoided defeat in an ODI series came when they picked up a 1-1 draw with an unheralded Afghanistan team back in 2017. Since then they have lost two series’ to Bangladesh and two to India, while also suffering series defeats at the hands of New Zealand and England. That loss to England was a 4-0 drubbing in 2017. England secured four emphatic wins in that five-match series and the other match was rained off.

The West Indies have not won an ODI series since they hosted Bangladesh all the way back in 2014, so their fans could be forgiven for sensing some trepidation ahead of the arrival of the world’s top ranked team. Yet hope springs eternal and the Test team’s victory in the longer format should provide inspiration for the white-ball team ahead of this series.

Both teams boast some brilliant limited-overs talent, and the West Indies will be massively boosted by the return of Chris Gayle. The 39-year-old last appeared for the ODI side in July 2018. He has missed tours of India and Bangladesh as he elected to play in the UAE T10 League and the Afghanistan Premier League instead. He remains in the team’s World Cup plans and Windies fans will hope for some big knocks from their talismanic batsman. He is likely to be a popular option for anyone looking at Player Runs markets when it comes to ODI spread betting.

The Windies are without Sunil Narine and Andre Russell, who are both struggling for fitness, while Shannon Gabriel has been hit with a four-match ban. He accepted an ICC charge over alleged homophobic comments he made to England captain Joe Root during the third Test in St Lucia. Gabriel was set for a rest at the start of the series, but he was drafted in following injuries to Rovman Powell and Keemo Paul, so his absence is a blow for the hosts. But the likes of Holder and Darren Bravo will be full of confidence after their red-ball exploits and the West Indies are not to be taken lightly.

England Limbering Up For The Cricket World Cup

England’s players will be highly motivated as we are in a World Cup year and competition for places in the team is high. Those selected will aim to impress in order to nail down a place at the big tournament, which is held in England and Wales from 30th May to 14th July. England are the favourites to go on and win it, but they need to justify their status as the world’s number one team in the build-up to the competition. This is their penultimate series before it begins, so it represents an important opportunity for Morgan to assess his players’ current strengths and weaknesses.

The England cricket spread betting indexes show that they are rated as the superior team and that is down to the sheer depth of world-class talent that Morgan has at his disposal. They are blessed with superb hitters like Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Jos Buttler and Jason Roy, while Mark Wood, Alex Hales, Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid should pose all sorts of problems for the hosts. Coach Trevor Bayliss recently admitted that the Test team’s batting has suffered as a result of the demands for added aggression in one-day cricket and it is hard to argue with that notion. It is a real pity for the first-class game, but limited-overs cricket is a juggernaut that cannot be ignored and now it is time for Bayliss and co to reap the rewards of that aggression.

Our traders have suggested that England will take the Windies apart in this series. "We believe that the West Indies have been incorrectly rerated after their very impressive Test match performances," said our man on the trading floor. "The ODIs are obviously England’s strength and we fully expect them to be dominant in the series. This is reflected in our series Win Index prices." The West Indies have been given a Win Index of 18-21, while England's is at 54-57. Teams get 10 points per match won and a 25-point bonus for winning the series.

Our insider added: "The West Indies also have some team selection concerns, with the impressive Gabriel ruled out for 4 matches due to his on-field exchange with Root. England have their full first team squad to choose from and I expect their batting, in particular, to be too strong for the West Indies."

There is much to look forward to at some iconic venues and by the time all the dust has settled we will have a clearer idea of how well each team will fare at this summer’s World Cup. England are the clear favourites here and the West Indies have selection concerns, but the hosts will be buoyed by their recent Test series success against England and this will certainly not be a walk in the park for Morgan's men.

Cricket spread betting fans can find all manner of intriguing options to ramp up the excitement experienced when watching this series, so be sure to check out all the ODI spread betting markets ahead of Wednesday’s opener in Barbados.





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