A 2016 final rematch between T20 heavyweights
Much has been written of that famous final over in the 2016 decider and it has continued to dictate the narrative into Saturday night’s Super 12 match in Dubai.
While it would be foolish to suggest the West Indies’ incredible win in 2016 against England won’t register in the collective mind of each team, the ghosts of that epic will not determine what happens tonight.
Indeed, many of the central characters from that game will not feature in this match between the world No.1s and the world champions. Ben Stokes and Carlos Brathwaite sadly aren’t involved in this tournament, nor are either team’s top scorers on the night, nor is Daren Sammy.
Suffice to say, plenty of water has gone under the bridge since that night.
What hasn’t changed however is the explosive brand of cricket these two teams play. In Jason Roy and Jos Buttler, England have one of the most frighteningly aggressive opening pair’s T20I cricket has seen, and in Dawid Malan at first drop the No.1 men’s T20I batter in the world. Malan plays the lone anchor in a side that is either wise just rocket-fuelled propellers, with captain Eoin Morgan giving himself and the likes of Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone the right to swing for the hills in a batting order without a tail. That's if Malan plays at all, with Jonny Bairstow looking a serious contender to bat at No.3.
On the other side of the ledger, the West Indies have the fastest man in the world to hit 100 T20I sixes in Evin Lewis, the first man to reach that mark in Chris Gayle and a handful of players within the XI all on course to join the club. In captain Kieron Pollard and all-rounder Andre Russell possibly the two cleanest strikers of a ball the format has seen and among its best ever finishers. They have a group that brings an unrivalled wealth of T20 experience to the table as well as an exciting crop of youngsters primed to pick up where the elder statesmen have left off.
In short, it’s a match you simply cannot miss.
- Match: England v West Indies
- Time: 18:00 local time on Saturday 23 October
- Venue: Dubai International Stadium, Dubai
England possible XI: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow/Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood, Tymal Mills
West Indies possible XI: Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Kieron Pollard (c), Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Hayden Walsh Jr, Obed McCoy, Ravi Rampaul
Expert Dream11 Fantasy tips
Captaincy Pick - Evin Lewis
The West Indies’ opening batter has to be the top captaincy pick for their match against England. He is in great form in the T20 format, having scored 961 runs in 29 innings at an average of 36.9 in 2021. Keep in mind, Lewis’ T20 strike rate in UAE is 152, slightly higher than his career strike rate of 145.7.
Must-have - Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali could prove to be the game-changer against West Indies. Not just with the bat but also the ball, where his off-breaks will be crucial against the Calypso Kings’ left-handers. He is coming into the tournament on the back of good form for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, having played crucial knocks in the knockout stages for them. The all-rounder has scored 733 runs at a strike rate of 142.3 in T20s this year and has taken 18 wickets at an economy rate of 6.7.
What they said
Eoin Morgan, England captain, dismisses the notion of scars from the 2016 T20 World Cup: "Some of the biggest disappointments in any career are more learnings than scars. I think if there were scars we would have lost a lot of players that wouldn't have progressed like they have done over the last four or five years throughout their careers... any time we've come up against a side that has beaten us in whatever fashion they have, we've always looked to learn and progress and become a better side."
Kieron Pollard, West Indies captain, on the impact of 2016: "What Carlos did in those four deliveries in that last over, it's unbelievable. It's something that as a team we actually saw last night, and it brought goosebumps back to us. For us to be in that situation and get over the line, it shows that sort of never-say-die attitude. We as a team, we look forward to trying to replicate winning the entire tournament, but those sort of moments sort of stick with us."