West Indies takes on hosts England in the first match of five-match ODI series starting from today at Old Trafford, Manchester. The 2 time World Championship have a big task ahead of winning the series of 4-1 or 5-0 which looks highly unlikely against a top quality England lineup who have been playing good cricket after the been knocked out of the World Cup 2015 in the first round.
There is good news for West Indies fans to see the explosive Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, and Jerome Taylor. Chris Gayle played his last ODI during 2015 World Cup quarterfinals against New Zealand. The team will be led by inexperienced Jason Holder. When West Indies played their last ODI series against India, they lost by 1-3. With the match against Ireland, washed out it is going to be a big task for two-time World Cup Championship to qualify for the 2019 edition to be held in England.
The batting order consists of young players like Kyle Hope, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Rovman Powell and the experienced players Gayle, Marlon Samuels must come to the party if West Indies are to defeat a strong England side.
While England ODI side comprises of top quality players like Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow, captain Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Jos Buttler who can change the course of the game with their power hitting. After losing the semi-finals against Pakistan in Champions Trophy 2017, England would be looking to perform well and make sure that they fix all their problems ahead of World Cup 2019. Being the hosts, England and top 7 sides will qualify for World Cup 2019 directly.
West Indies won the World Cup twice in 1975 and 1979. It will be a challenge for the young Jason Holder to lead an experienced side and make sure that they play with positive intent in upcoming ODI series.
If West Indies do not qualify directly for World Cup 2019, then they have to play qualifying matches in 2018. After Sri Lanka was whitewashed 0-5 by India, West Indies needed to win the match against Ireland and then the series against England by 4-0 or 5-0.
West Indies are a great team in T20 format winning the World Cup twice, in 2012 and 2016. It will be a big loss for cricket to see either West Indies or Sri Lanka not qualifies directly for World Cup 2019. Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis need to provide good starts if West Indies want to post a competitive total against a strong batting order of England.
The other inexperienced batsmen must make sure that they can put pressure on England bowling lineup if the openers give a good start. In the bowling department, Jerome Taylor and other bowlers must pick wickets to put enough pressure on England batting unit.