West Indies skipper Dwayne Bravo is urging his batsmen to play fearless cricket in the final One Day International against England at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua bowling off at 9.30 a.m. today, hinting that all-out attack may be the best remedy for their top-order problems against England’s spinners.
The West Indies top-order have failed to fire in the series so far with Dwayne Smith scoring just 29 in two innings, Kieran Powell hitting 21 in two innings, Kirk Edwards 19 in two games and Darren Bravo 15 in his two stints in the middle.
Lendl Simmons has been the most consistent of the West Indies batsmen, hitting two half centuries batting at number five to revive fortunes after top-order collapses.
Skipper Bravo and all-rounder Darren Sammy have also contributed with half centuries but the other batsmen have all found it difficult to score on the spinner-friendly Sir Vivian Richards Stadium pitch.
“Our batters need to give themselves the opportunity to be themselves, be flamboyant, play fearless and put England under some pressure,” Bravo said.
“If we get off to a good start...we finish games well.
“We have very good lower-order batting, but it’s the start that has given us the problem.
“So if we can do well in that first 10 overs, don’t allow England to control the game early on, we can take it from there.”
Bravo is hoping key batsman Marlon Samuels is fit to return to the team which will strengthen their batting and give them an added spin option, alongside frontline pair Sunil Narine and Nikita Miller.
The Windies bowlers have been on target so far with Narine and Miller proving to be a lethal combination.
They kept West Indies in the fight for most of the second ODI despite having a low total of 159 to defend.
Miller took two for 28 from ten overs and Narine had one for 25 from ten but England still won Sunday’s game by three wickets with 31 balls remaining to level the three-match series 1-1 heading into the final match today.
“Marlon is in consideration for selection. That’s a bonus for us. He will definitely be a key with his batting and bowling as well,” said Bravo, who said that the home team needed to put up better totals to give their bowlers a chance to deliver.
“We definitely need to bat better. If we can put a better total on the board, we can make a better game of it.
“(Narine) is a bowler most teams struggle to play, not only England. Even India, Sri Lanka...they all struggle. He’s a handful, and we’re happy to have him in our squad. But at the same time, we can’t leave it all up to him. It’s a total team effort.
“If we don’t have enough runs, then Narine is no value. We need to have runs on the board to give him the opportunity to deliver for us,” Bravo added.
West Indies—Dwayne Bravo (captain), Darren Bravo, Kirk Edwards, Jason Holder, Nikita Miller, Sunil Narine, Kieran Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith
England—Stuart Broad (captain), Eoin Morgan, Moeen Ali, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Michael Lumb, Stephen Parry, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Tredwell, Luke Wright