London, Jun 7: Former champions West Indies will lock horns with the incredibly unpredictable Pakistan in what promises to be a high-voltage group B Champions Trophy clash at the Oval here today.
The Caribbean team, which won the title in 2004 besides finishing runners-up in 1998 and 2006, is high on star power with the intimidating presence of an in-form Chris Gayle being a massive confidence-booster.
Pakistan, on the other hand, is a team full of greenhorns despite being led by the oldest player in the event—a 39-year-old Misbah-ul-Haq.
A look at the line-ups would make the West Indies slight favourites for tomorrow's match. Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard and Kemar Roach have the ability to just knock out the opposition attack with their power-hitting.
In fact, the troika of Gayle, Pollard and Samuels displayed good form at the recent IPL and would be looking to carry the confidence into the Champions Trophy even though the format would be different. Skipper and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo is another player who can be a match-winner on his day.
Gayle's aggregate of 695 in Champions Trophy matches is the highest among all batsmen.
On the bowling front, the outfit has quite a few tricksters in the line-up, including the surprise package of pacer Jason Holder.
The youngest in the team is 6'8” tall and could prove to be a decisive factor in the seaming conditions with his medium pace.
Among the slower bowlers, Sunil Narine has been a proven performer and would be expected to work his magic here after a stupendous IPL performance.
The Caribbeans were, however, handed a sound thrashing by the Australians in their most recent ODI assignment at the beginning of the year and it remains to be seen whether they can regroup.