West Indies vs England 2019: England re-assert why their ODI batting lineup is the best in the world
While most teams these days need to have a lot going in their favor to score 300 or more in an ODI innings, for England it is an everyday thing. A batting lineup like that of England has the potential to score over 350 against any opposition and in any given conditions, and they have yet again reasserted that.
After winning six back-to-back ODI series - including overseas tournaments in Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka - England were back to their winning ways, chasing a mammoth target of 360 against West Indies at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown as if it was a walk in the park.
Jason Roy batted with the freedom of a T20, hitting fours and sixes from the word go to spoil Chris Gayle's terrific effort earlier in the day. Joe Root showed more restraint, but both registered individual hundreds to shock the Windies in a cricketing spectacle in Barbados.
With batsmen like Root, Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Eoin Morgan and the injured Alex Hales who is missing this series, England are a batting powerhouse. Add to that equation Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Liam Plunkett and even Adil Rashid - and you know there is one batsman somewhere in the lineup who will take care of the runs at any point.
A testament to this is the Bristol ODI between England and West Indies in September 2017. Even after England lost their first six wickets for 217 runs, Ali - coming in to bat at number seven - smashed a 53-ball century. He only had 17.3 overs, five wickets and Chris Woakes (for most part of his innings) for company, but he still ensured England got to a good total and eventually won the match by 124 runs.
England's battings fortunes changed for good after their disappointing run at the 2015 World Cup. The resurgence of Bairstow, Morgan and Buttler, combined with the infusion of talented blokes like Roy and Hales, provided England with fearless yet reliable power hitters for the trickiest form of the game.
In the form of Stokes and Woakes, England have great seam bowlers who can win the game with their own bat. In the form of Rashid and Ali, England have spin twins who can - again - win the game with the bat as well.
Yes, they do fall short on bowling fairly frequently, but their enthusiastic fielding compensates for that on most days.
While other top contenders for the World Cup 2019, like India and New Zealand, are still struggling to fill their batting slots for the mega event, England had already ticked all the right boxes way back in 2015. While other teams would most likely start worrying after losing early wickets, England would know they are capable of getting to a more than decent total on any day.
All the other teams better be taking note.