West Indies claimed a five-wicket win over England on Tuesday to seal the Twenty20 series with one game still to play, and the two sides have just one more game to fine-tune their preparations before heading to Bangladesh for the World T20.
Venue: Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados
Date: Thursday, March 13, 2014
Start time: 2:30 p.m. local time, 6:30 p.m. GMT
Weather: A shower briefly interrupted play in the second T20, and Accuweather suggests more interruptions might follow on Thursday. Although temperatures will be hot, rain is in the forecast for parts of the day.
TV Info: Sky Sports 2 (U.K.)
England's effort in the second T20 was an improvement on the first, but it was only a few individuals who stood out. With the bat, Alex Hales (40) and Jos Buttler (67) helped the visitors post 152-7 in 20 overs, but only one other player managed double figures.
In contrast, just two of the Windies batsmen didn't make it into double figures, and although they probably have a lot of poor English bowling to thank for that, it was evident that England were missing something.
Moeen Ali came into the team to bat at three, Eoin Morgan took over the captaincy and Stephen Parry replaced Stuart Broad, but the batsmen once again struggled against spin. Samuel Badree was impressive up front, and despite there being no Sunil Narine for the Windies, they kept things tidy without him.
Medium pacer Krishmar Santokie replaced Narine and got four wickets for his efforts while England just couldn't get partnerships going consistently.
It was England's fifth successive defeat in the format, and while they were left to mull over how it all keeps going so wrong, Darren Sammy was understandably delighted. He was quoted by ESPNCricinfo praising the team effort his charges put in over the past two games:
We wanted to leave here with good momentum going into the World Cup. For two games it has been a complete team effort, I can't fault the lads. In T20 cricket the momentum shifts at different times and we wanted to make sure we started well and we finished well. It feels good. It's been a long time since we won a series.
If the Windies continue to box clever, they could very well take a 3-0 win as momentum into the ICC World T20, a perfect start to their title defence.
Chris Gayle has showed signs of playing a complete innings since returning from injury, but he hasn't quite gone all guns blazing. The rest of the batting have performed without him, but if Gayle can blast a big score at the top of the order, the Windies will be on their way to a 3-0 win.
England need to find a way to fire during the Powerplay overs, and it's up to the opening batsmen to make sure that happens. Both Michael Lumb and Alex Hales have played good knocks in two different games, but they are yet to combine for a sturdy top order partnership. Getting that right will be absolutely crucial.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (capt), Samuel Badree, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Krishmar Santokie, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith.
England: Stuart Broad (capt), Eoin Morgan, Moeen Ali, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Michael Lumb, Stephen Parry, Ian Bell, Ben Stokes, James Tredwell, Luke Wright.