Wednesday, 24 May, 2017

Law sets sights on West Indies' World Cup qualification

Rahkeem Cornwall bats for the WICB President's XI in their match with England on Monday Rahkeem Cornwall bats for the WICB President's XI in their match with England on Monday
Tracy Craig | 05 March, 2017, 00:26

With only the top seven teams in ICC one-day rankings as of September 30 this year earning automatic qualification along with hosts England, West Indies - now lying ninth - are in danger of missing out.

England: With the series still at stake, England must decide whether to stick with the same eleven as used in the first game or rotate their squad. In the second game too there will be interesting clashes to look forward to.

Brathwaite famously slammed four straight sixes off unfortunate bowler Ben Stokes as the West Indies claimed an unlikely win over England in last year's World T20 final.

And the bowling remains a serious issue. A major contributing factor to that, however, has been the ongoing spat between the West Indies Cricket Board and some of the team's biggest match-winners. His last Test appearance for West Indies was in March 2006, against New Zealand in Napier.

But in these conditions they are surely too big at 4/1 (Stan James) to win a series in conditions that should help spike England's most unsafe guns with both bat and ball.

An intriguing sub-plot will be the battle between Brathwaite and Stokes after the West Indian hammered the England right-armer for four consecutive sixes to steal the World T20 final in Kolkata previous year.

"But if [Sam] continues to score runs, you never know".

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At the very least they should certainly be more competitive than a dismissive price suggests.

While a lot of the focus heading into the series is on Brathwaite's re-match with England allrounder Ben Stokes, the home side is desperate to peg back some ground in the all-important International Cricket Council ODI rankings. He also took 61 wickets in ODIs, with a career-best of 5 for 45 and three four-fors. We've just got to make sure we have our heads screwed on for the one-day tournaments we play in upcoming tours and if we can win those, we can get through to qualify for the World Cup.

While Stokes and Morgan batted, West Indies skipper Jason Holder ran out of options, as the white ball was flying all over the place.

Bishoo has experience on his side, but went more than five years without an ODI cap before returning to the side against Zimbabwe in November.

It looked exactly like that early on when Shannon Gabriel took two early wickets.

England were as published and set to bat first in this first match of three, with Sam Billings confirmed to open alongside Jason Roy. Enjoyed some luck early on, but made the most of it.

Liam Plunkett vs West Indies middle order: If Woakes dealt with the top order, it was Plunkett who took care of the middle order. He was a consistent if slow runscorer in the recent domestic 50-over competition and has more worldwide pedigree than most of his colleagues.

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