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England v West Indies: Players to watch

Eng v WI, women's T20Is, preview

England take on West Indies in a five-match women's T20I series from 21 September.

These will be the first internationals for both sides since the ICC Women's T20 World Cup, and will mark the return of top-flight women's cricket after a pandemic-enforced break.

The last time these two teams met, England prevented West Indies from reaching the knockout stages of the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020 with a strong 46-run win. West Indies won just one out of their four games in the tournament. They have their task cut out on this tour too: They have won just one T20I against the hosts in the UK, in six attempts. 

With both sides itching to mark their return to cricket with a win, we look at some players from the two teams who are likely to play a big role in their side's success.

Sophie Ecclestone (England)

Sophie Ecclestone is the No.1 bowler on the MRF Tyres ICC Women's T20I Rankings, and an expert in her craft. The young left-arm spinner finished with eight wickets in four matches during the T20 World Cup. With an economy rate of 3.23 and a bowling strike-rate of just 11.3, she was the pick of England's bowlers.

Against West Indies in the tournament – coincidentally the last match England completed – she took a remarkable 3/7. She will once again pose a genuine threat for the women in maroon, who have plenty of right-hand batters. She comes off the back of some good all-round performances in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for Thunder.

Stafanie Taylor made 71 from 52 balls in the Windies' intra-squad practice game.
Stafanie Taylor made 71 from 52 balls in the Windies' intra-squad practice game.

Stafanie Taylor (West Indies)

Skipper Stafanie Taylor was her side's top-scorer in the T20 World Cup this year, but with just 84 runs from three matches at a strike-rate of 82.35 in the tournament, she was not at her usual high standards. She will, however, remain crucial to West Indies' success and warmed up with 71 from 52 balls in the Windies' intra-squad practice game.

Taylor has more than 100 T20Is under her belt and is on the cusp of becoming the first West Indies woman to 3000 runs in the format. She is the highest run-scorer in T20Is for West Indies against England, with 351 runs in 14 matches at an average of 31.90, including two half-centuries. She has 18 wickets in 14 T20Is against them, but has gone for 67 runs in her last seven overs in their encounters.

Deandra Dottin (West Indies)

The big-hitting Deandra Dottin has played only a handful of matches since returning from a year-long absence owing to shoulder injury and couldn't get to double figures during the T20 World Cup. She insists, though, that the break has helped her recovery and she is ready to bowl again, too.

With 2380 runs and 59 T20I wickets in 113 matches, she brings with her experience and multiple skills, and will be tasked with giving the visitors good starts. As in the T20 World Cup game against England, she might be better suited to open the innings. Dottin made 41 off 43 balls in the intra-squad warm-up game where she led one of the teams.

Nat Sciver (England)

Nat Sciver was Player of the Match when these sides last met during the T20 World Cup. Her 56-ball 57 from No.3 set up a total of 143 for England. That knock followed a sequence of scores that read 50, 59* and 36. She finished the tournament as the third-highest run-scorer behind the Australian openers with 202 runs at an average of 67.33. 

Sciver's last match in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy in late August saw her make a hundred for Northern Diamonds in the North Group fixture against Lightning. She also contributed with the ball, picking up two wickets in one over in the game. Sciver has become more regular with the ball in T20s in 2020, finishing her quota of overs in four out of the eight games she played this year for England women. She has seven wickets in these matches at an average of 20.57.

Nat Sciver has completed her quota of overs in four out of eight T20Is this year
Nat Sciver has completed her quota of overs in four out of eight T20Is this year

Heather Knight (England)

Heather Knight's spectacular 108* against Thailand earlier this year helped her end the ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2020 as the fourth-highest run-scorer, with an average of 52.71 from eight matches this year. The England skipper will be relied upon to make quick runs in the middle order. In the two games she has played in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for Western Storm, Knight opened the batting and made scores of 91* and 67.

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