West Indies vs ICC World XI: 5 player battles to look out for
With the 2018 IPL done and dusted, the action moves to the Mecca of Cricket - Lord's - for the one-off T20I between West Indies and the ICC World XI on Thursday which is being organized for raising funds for stadiums in Dominica and Anguilla that were damaged by hurricanes in September 2017.
World XI skipper Eoin Morgan was ruled out of the contest after fracturing his finger while playing for Middlesex during the Royal London One-Day Cup contest against Somerset on Sunday.
Shadid Afridi will take over as skipper while Morgan has been replaced with England teammate Sam Billings while Tymal Mills and Sam Curran has also been added to the squad on standby.
For West Indies, the match sees the return of several of its senior players, who missed the 3-match T20 series against Pakistan in April due to security reasons, as well as Andre Russell, who will be representing West Indies for the first time since he was banned for a doping-code violation in January 2017.
The contest has been granted international status by the ICC and hence both teams will be out in full swing tomorrow to prove their mettle tomorrow and with a unique side such as the ICC World XI in the fray, the match promises to throw up several interesting battles involving players from the two sides.
Let's have a look at the 5 key player battles that could decide the outcome of the upcoming contest.
#5 Marlon Samuels vs Mitchell McClenaghan
Marlon Samuels makes a return to the West Indian side along with several other key players after opting out of the 3-match T20 series against Pakistan at the start of April 2018 due to security reasons and the Caribbean side badly missed the veteran's experience in the middle order.
Whether a wicket falls early on or he decides to play the sheet-anchor role for the side, one player Samuels is almost certain to face should he be included in the playing eleven is Mitchell McClenaghan.
The New Zealand pacer rarely bowls in the death overs nowadays as he is often brought back in the middle overs to complete his quota of four overs after his customary opening spell in the powerplay overs.
The left-arm seamer is likely to enjoy bowling at Lord's and the extra pace and bounce could make life uncomfortable at the crease for Samuels but bet the experienced batsman to come up with a proper response.