Run-filled series enters finale with West Indies chasing win
Will Chris Gayle trump Jos Buttler in the final ODI?

England and West Indies have thrilled in equal measure across the three completed ODIs of this five-match series, and now the contest promises to reach a crescendo.

It rained sixes in Barbados and Grenada, and with Saturday’s final ODI a must-win for West Indies the stage has been set for something dramatic. England achieved their highest ODI chase in the first game, then underwhelmed in the second to give the hosts a slice of the series; a washout was followed by another run-fest in the fourth ODI,  in which Jos Buttler‘s 77-ball 150 helped England post 418 – a total that West Indies, spurred by Chris Gayle‘s 162, nearly ended up not being enough.

Losing four wickets in the 48th over proved the end of West Indies’ stunning chase, and now, needing a win to level the series 2-2, they are the ones who eyes are trained on. Gayle, with scores of 135, 50 and 162, has provided the bulk of the runs. Shimron Hetmyer and Sheldon Cottrell starred in the team’s only win. Darren Bravo and Carlos Brathwaite have shown glimpses of brilliance. Now it all must come together spectacularly for Jason Holder’s team to deny England.

Eoin Morgan’s top-ranked ODI outfit are World Cup contenders, and such is their belief that no target is out of reach. They own the lead, and will fight like few teams to do seal a tenth successive bilateral ODI series win. (READ: Buttler not close to the Universe Boss, but will get there: Gayle)

Match details

What: West Indies vs England, 5th ODI

Where: Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, St Lucia

When: Saturday, March 2

Time: 20:30 IST

Team news

West Indies

Andre Russell did not play the last game, but with the series on the line he could return for his first ODI since July 2018.

Likely XI: 1 Chris Gayle, 2 John Campbell, 3 Shai Hope (wk), 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Carlos Brathwaite, 7 Andre Russell, 8 Jason Holder (capt), 9 Ashley Nurse, 10 Sheldon Cottrell, 11 Oshane Thomas

England

Jason Roy missed the last game with injury and if fit, should return as opener. Chris Woakes conceded 91 runs in 10 wicketless overs and could be rested.

Likely XI: 1 Jason Roy/Alex Hales, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (capt), 5 Jos Buttler (wk), 6 Ben Stokes, 7 Moeen Ali, 8 Tom Curran, 9 Liam Plunkett, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Mark Wood

Pitch and conditions

Only thrice has 300 been scored at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium. The track does not offer much to the pace bowlers, but spinners have enjoyed success there. Rashid Khan has 10 wickets in three ODIs, Gayle 11 and Saeed Ajmal nine. Saturday is supposed to be a cloudy day with a high of 28 degrees.

Stats

Gayle has hit 30 sixes in three innings. This is a record for bilateral ODIs. The next best is 23 by Rohit Sharma versus Australia in 2013-14.

The most runs by a West Indies batsman in a bilateral series is 455 by Gayle in India in 2002. He has 347 in this series.

This will be Morgan’s 194th ODI for England, which draws him level with James Anderson. Only Paul Collingwood (197) has played more.

Quotes

“One of the strengths of the team is that there are no egos and guys are happy to bat in multitude of positions. It really helps the side that we don’t have a set batting order.” – Buttler