Good evening everyone and welcome to the third set of this quintet. It’s perfectly balanced at 1-1, but West Indies were the better team, winning the first set 6-0 and only losing the second 7-6, after trailing 5-0. Enough of that analogy – anyone for cricket?
It has been absorbing, with West Indies presenting oddly well for the world’s tenth-ranked side and England struggling with their bowling of death, just as they did in the World Cup semi-final. world against New Zealand. In fact, England have a bigger problem: their right arm bowling as a whole.
Over the past year in T20 internationals, England spinners have averaged 17 runs per wicket and their left arm seams 19, while the right arm seams have only managed 31. That is to much the same story with economy rates: spinners 6.64 runs per plus, left-handers 6.78, right-handers 8.23. (With thanks, as so often, to Stats Guru.) The individual numbers suggest England are missing Jofra Archer, as you’d expect, but they’re also missing Sam Curran, whose average, saving and rate of strikes over the past year are all better than Archer’s.
The most struggling setter is the one Eoin Morgan uses the most – Chris Jordan. A mainstay of this team, he’s suddenly doing better as a hitter than a bowler. Morgan’s dilemma tonight is whether to stick with Jordan, hoping he finds his mojo and yorker, or send another southpaw to team up with Reece Topley, whose return Sunday night, after a long and winding layoff, was a triumph. . Morgan has three other southpaws up his sleeve – slow-ball master Tymal Mills, who played Game 1 of this series; George Garton, who is fast and can also punch; and David Payne, who would be a seasoned novice in the mold of Scott Boland.
Morgan doesn’t tend to make many changes, however, and he may have another in mind – one Liam instead of another. Liam Livingstone, who suffers from oesophagitis (a sore throat), is believed to be fit again and could replace Liam Dawson as third spinner, while also landing England’s big shot. The West Indies, meanwhile, are expected to stay with a near-winning team.
The location, as with the entire series, is Bridgetown, Barbados. There is a rain forecast but only for the first hour, which shouldn’t spoil everything. The game starts at 8pm GMT (3pm local time), so check back around 7.35pm for news on the draw, teams and left-handed tally.