England Reuters

Champions England will begin the defence of their T20 World Cup title in earnest, with a Super Eight game against the West Indies. After the surprising and arguably demoralising defeat to India in the final group stage game, Stuart Broad's men will be desperate to return to winning ways. They will, however, have to find a way past a West Indies batting line-up with the likes of Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard.

Who: England v West Indies

Where: Pallekele

When: 2.30 pm BST. Live coverage will be available on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 1 HD. ESPN will stream the match live on its Web site.


If England are to win this game then they have to forget about the defeat to India. This is perhaps easier said than done... but it is essential because a second consecutive defeat will seriously jeopardise the team's chance of making the semi final.

Against India, the English were bowled out for 80 (their lowest every T20I total) while chasing a mammoth 172 to win. The downfall was triggered, as was expected, by the spin of Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla, who picked up 6/25 from their eight overs. The batsmen should be more at ease playing the Caribbean team but will still need to be wary of Sunil Naraine's off-breaks. That hope should be bolstered by the fact they did well against both Afghanistan and Australia, while also beating Pakistan; the latter two in warm-up matches.

England's main problem so far would appear to be the inconsistency of the batting. Alex Hales hit 31 against Afghanistan and failed against India, while Craig Kieswetter went the opposite way. Luke Wright was similarly troubled, hammering Afghanistan for an unbeaten 99 and managing only six against India.

West Indies
West Indies Reuters

With the ball, England have been fortunate in that a number of bowlers have all chipped in, spreading the load across the team. Graeme Swann has 3/39, Steven Finn 3/57 and Jade Dernbach 3/61. However, the fact the seamers have an economy rate touching 10 runs per over (Broad's is 23) should be a worrying factor. If they don't get their line and length right against Gayle and co, they might lose the match even before it really begins.

A solution could be to bring in Samit Patil. The spinner worked well, in tandem with Swann, against Afghanistan and the West Indies are certainly not better players of spin than India, against whom Patil was not played.

Meanwhile, Darren Sammy and the West Indies will be relatively pleased with their progress so far this tournament. They did lose to Australia (but that was a rain-interfered game), were odds-on to beat Ireland (chasing 130 in 20 overs) before rain again intervened.

The batting, as expected, is in good form. Gayle hit his way to 65 off 48 balls in a warm-up game against Afghanistan and 54 from 33 against Australia. Marlon Samuels is also a potential danger-man for Broad to consider, as are Dwayne Bravo (who will probably return after not featuring against Ireland), Pollard and captain Sammy. Should Dwayne Smith also fire, then England will have a huge battle on their hands to contain the score.

The West Indies bowling could be England's way into this game. The fact Gayle is the team's leading wicket taker (2/21) will trouble Sammy. He needs his big names - Fidel Edwards and Ravi Rampaul - to fire.