England and Windies were not quite a match during the Tests. Unsurprisingly, it ended as a slightly one-sided affair even though Windies did try to keep their heads high and fight back. But, the class and ability of the hosts were just enough to bury the resilience from Windies.
But, things are about to change. In fact, it has already changed after the one-off T20I at Durham which ended in the visitor’s favor. The domination and their expertise in the limited overs format in glowing bright.
It was also their way of letting England what to expect in coming days which will see the 5-match series unfold with the opening ODI at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Automatic qualification scenario in mind
The ODI is series is highly significant for one single reason apart from maintaining their limited overs pride. For Windies, this series carries great significance for their quest of securing an automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup.
The side is currently ranked ninth and may be forced to play the qualifier tournament with another ten countries which look likely to be held in Zimbabwe next year. The competition will likely cause some upsets as only two teams will be able to make it to the marquee event which will be hosted in England.
There is only one way to avoid the terrible situation, and it could be achieved by winning the series 5-0 or with a 4-0 result with a tie/NR. This will see them move up to the eighth place in the world rankings and pip Sri Lanka on the way.
The return of the likes of Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels surely adds more muscle to their side. But considering that they last won an ODI series back in 2014 and an impossible equation of whitewashing the hosts needed to be achieved, West Indies will be under pressure.
England seek to build momentum
The upcoming ODI will be England’s first since their semi-final defeat to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy earlier this summer. Most of the squad appears same with only uncapped Tom Curran making an entry. This reflects their idea of forming a settled 50-over team for the 2019 World Cup. The return of Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, and Moeen Ali, who missed the T20I, is a significant boost.
If ODI form is anything to go by, the home side, currently ranked 4th, is entering the series with six wins out of their last seven bilateral ODI series including a 3-0 victory over Windies in the Caribbean in March.
The weather at Old Trafford promises no pleasant things. The venue is usually known for its bright and warm reception but today it will be the exact opposite as the temperature sits a cool 8 degrees Celsius along with foggy surroundings that will lead to low visibility.
England: Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (C), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Tom Curran, Jake Ball, Liam Plunkett
Windies: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Marlon Samuels, Shai Hope (wk), Kyle Hope, Rovman Powell, Jason Holder (C), Jason Mohammed (VC), Alzarri Joseph, Jerome Taylor, Kesrick Williams