West Indies set to take on the ‘Rest of the World’

An ICC World XI team will take on West Indies in a Twenty20 International to be played at the home of cricket in Lord’s England. The match is scheduled to be played on the 31st of May in order to raise funds for two cricket stadiums damaged by 2 Hurricanes that swept across the Caribbean Islands in September last year.

Category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria wrecked havoc leaving a path of extensive carnage in the islands and USA. The two hurricanes are 2 of the 5 costliest hurricanes ($90 billion and $50 billion respectively) in US history and the storms brought widespread death and destruction. Gusty winds exceeding 185 mph and rainfall in excess of 50 inches left many people dead, missing, helpless and homeless. Cricket and infrastructure in the West Indies also suffered as a result of these two mega storms. This exhibition match will be played to raise funds in order to renovate the Ronald Webster Park in Anguilla and Windsor Park in Dominica that was damaged due to the storms.

Carlos Brathwaite will lead West Indies against the World XI side led by England’s white ball cricket captain Eoin Morgan. The match will be played as a day-night encounter scheduled to start at 6 pm BST.

The ICC Rest of the World XI team will consist of a host of international T20 stars. Tamim Iqbal the Bangladeshi opening batsman will open the batting with Luke Ronchi, the wicket-keeper batsman from New Zealand. Ronchi and Iqbal both had successful Pakistan Super League (PSL) tournaments and will look to give a good account of themselves at the ‘home of cricket’. Ronchi, in fact, is an attacking batsman who likes to hit fours and sixes and will be the cynosure of all eyes at the top of the order. Eoin Morgan will bat at number 3 with Shoaib Malik tipped to bat at number 4. Malik at the age of 37 is getting better with every passing year and will hope to be at his attacking best against the Windies. Dinesh Karthik the wicket-keeper batsman from India who has had a successful IPL season for KKR will bat at number 5 and will look to be the glue that links the top and middle order of the World XI side.

Hardik Pandya and Thisara Perera, the power-hitting all-rounders from India and Sri Lanka respectively will form a formidable middle-order batting unit. The fact that both Pandya and Perera can contribute with the ball makes them two valuable additions to the side. Retired Pakistani great Shahid ‘Boom Boom’ Afridi is also in the side and might be used as a floater depending on the situation. It will be interesting to see how match-fit Afridi really is considering the fact that he has been out of competitive cricket for a while. Mitchell McClenaghan who had a good IPL season opening the bowling for the Mumbai Indians will spearhead the bowling attack. We may see Perera or Pandya opening the bowling with him.

There are 3 leg-spinners in the World XI side in the form of Afridi, Afghani Rashid Khan, and Sandeep Lamichhane. Rashid, the best leg-spinner in the world today is going places and is considered a household name when it comes to T20 cricket. He has been unplayable during the ongoing IPL season and has captured over 100 T20 wickets though been just 19 years of age. Sandeep Lamichhane the 17-year-old who plays for the Nepal national team is an inspired selection. The fact that he was picked for Delhi Daredevils during the ongoing IPL season and the fact that he is picked for this match show how committed ICC is to make the game popular among the associate nations. Lamichhane was picked by the then Nepalese national coach Pubudu Dassanayake literally from street cricket in 2015 and the progress that the youngster has made is quite astonishing.

Chris Gayle returns to the West Indies T20 team and will open the batting with Ewin Lewis. Both Gayle and Lewis were in good form for their respective teams during the IPL 2018. With Andre Fletcher at 3, Marlon Samuels at 4 and Denesh Ramdin at 5 the Windies have a suspect middle-order batting unit. Andre Russell, the hard-hitting all-rounder also returns to the side and the fans will hope that he is able to continue his attacking form from IPL. Russell is striking at over 190 per 100 balls for KKR during the ongoing IPL season.

Windies bowling attack will consist of pace bowlers Keemo Paul, Kesrick Williams, Rayad Emrit, Carlos Brathwaite, and Russell. Emrit at the age of 37 has played in many T20 leagues across the world and brings lots of experience to the side. Ashley Nurse and Samuel Badree will be the spin bowling options for Brathwaite with Badree tipped to open the bowling with his leg-spinners.

Join us on the 31st to witness these two teams do battle for a worthy cause.

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