England and West Indies were not favourites for the World T20 title before the tournament started. However, they have played some fabulous cricket and defied all odds to reach the ICC World T20 2016 final, which will be played Sunday at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
England come into this final defeating New Zealand in an impressive manner in the semifinals, while West Indies stunned favourites India to clinch the final berth. So, England and West Indies should not be short of confidence in the World T20 final.
West Indies might be even more confident as they defeated England in the Super-10 stages. It was Chris Gayle's brilliant ton that helped West Indies emerge triumphant then, and the Caribbean nation will ask for similar heroics from their left-hander.
However, West Indies have showed they are not a team that depends on Gayle alone. Players like Lendl Simmons and Johnson Charles played a huge role in defeating India after Gayle failed early on in the semifinals. West Indies have often also been criticised for not being able to rotate the strike, and scoring runs in boundaries only.
Such records do not bother West Indies skipper Darren Sammy, who believes once their batsmen start hitting, bowlers fail to stop them. It is going to be a challenge for England bowlers David Willey, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid and Co to put a lid in their run-scoring ability in Kolkata. Willey and Jordan, who are expected to play an important role, have taken seven and six wickets, respectively. Rashid, with his leggie, could play the biggest role with the ball.
"People say we don't rotate our strike well - we will talk about that. But first thing is you have to stop us from hitting boundaries. That has been difficult for oppositions once we get in that swing, [sic]" ESPN Cricinfo quoted Sammy as saying.
"I think since the inception of T20, you've seen West Indies is a boundary-hitting team so that's no surprise for me. We know the power we have in the dressing room so it was exciting to watch. Lendl Simmons, Andre Russell and Johnson Charles displayed that type of batting - boundary hitting - against India. [sic]"
Though West Indies batsmen have been good in the World T20 so far, their bowlers like Samuel Badree has played an important role in defeating teams such as South Africa and Sri Lanka, who both scored just 122 runs.
Samuel Badree has been their best bowler, performing during the powerplays with great result. He has bolwed a tight line and length against openers, but is going to be tested by the English batsmen, who have been on top of their game.
Jason Roy has provided some great starts to England in the competition, scoring 183 runs so far at a strike rate of 151, but it is first-down Joe Root who will hold the key for England. Root has scored 195 runs so far.
With such batsmen at the top of the order for England, and if Roy gives them a great start, batsmen like Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler have it in them to score runs briskly during the slog overs. Morgan might not have been impressive in the competition, and is due for a big score. It could be catastrophic for West Indies if Morgan shows his class in the World T20 final.
England have showed a lot of character with top-class performances in the tournament, defeating teams like South Africa, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand to reach the final. But their job is only half done as their fans would want to see England win the World T20 title.
Morgan is desperate to win the title. "It would mean a huge amount [to win it]," ESPN Cricinfo quoted Morgan as saying.
"The strides that we've made in the last 12 months in white-ball cricket, this would be a great reward for the mindset we've shown, the dedication and the hard work."
Irrespective of which team lifts the World T20 title after the conclusion of 40 overs at Eden Gardens, history shall be witnessed. No team has won the World T20 title twice, but England, who won it in 2009, and West Indies (2010), stand a chance of becoming the first team to win the competition two times in World T20 history.
Where to watch live
England vs West Indies World T20 final is set to begin at 7 p.m. IST ( 1:30 p.m. GMT, 8:30 a.m. ET) Star Sports 1, Star Sports 3, Star Sports HD1and Star Sports HD3 will provide live TV coverage for viewers in India and the rest of South Asia. Viewers can also watch England vs West Indies World T20 final live streaming onStarsports online and Hotstar.
Sky Sports 2 will broadcast England vs West Indies World T20 final live in the UK , while the live stream option is on Watch Sky Sports.
Audience in South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa will be able to watch England vs West Indies World T20 final live on SuperSport 2, with the online live stream optionSuperSport Live Video.
Audience in the Middle East and North Africa can watch the England vs West Indies World T20 final live on OSN Sports Cricket and OSN Play.
Fox Sports will show the World T20 2016 match live in Australia, while the live streaming option is on Foxtel. Viewers in New Zealand can watch England vs West Indies World T20 final live on Sky Sport and Sky Go NZ.
Willow TV and Willow TV Online are the places to be to watch the England vs West Indies World T20 final on TV and online in the US and Canada.