England beat West Indies in the recent Test series but T20 is totally different and in Chris Gayle West Indies have one of the best batsman in the world in the shortest format of the game. The sides meet in five One Day Internationals beginning next week but play a Twenty 20 International at Chester-le-Street on Saturday.
West Indies did not select Gayle and several other top players for the Tests. The selection policy states that a player must be taking part in their domestic league in order to be considered for 5 day games. Several players who would be otherwise eligible earn a lucrative living in T20 leagues around the world and forgo Test cricket.
England are currently second in the T20 rankings, behind New Zealand and two places above West Indies. The sides have met in this format 14 times and West Indies have won 10 of those fixtures, including the latest two meetings, played in 2016. There have been 9 T20 meetings in England of which the home side have won 3.
However, England currently have 4 players in the top 20 of world T20 batting and West Indies just have Marlon Samuels at 14 in the standings. For bowling West Indies are represented by two players and there is only one player from England in the world ranking top 20 for bowling. Samuels is the highest ranked all-rounder at number 4.
England and Ben Stokes in particular will have nightmares about the T20 World Cup Final between the sides in 2016. In a relatively low scoring contest England scored 155 runs in their 20 overs which seemed below par for the pitch. They got themselves into a winning position ahead of the final over.
West Indies required 19 runs from the 20th over bowled by Stokes. The first ball was crucial and set the tone for the climax of the match. If it had been a dot ball or just produced 2 runs England would be virtually home. However, Carlos Braithwaite smashed it for six and then hit three more sixes to win the match with 2 balls to spare.
Saturday’s T20 match is not important compared to the World Cup final but West Indies have the players to beat England again: