Sensational Samuels ready to sizzle
Batsman can play a starring role
Sky Sports Mix, 5.30pm Sunday
West Indies, the 2016 World T20 winners, are 4-5 to begin their four-match shortest-format series with Pakistan on a victorious note in Barbados on Sunday evening.
The Windies have won their last four T20 outings at the Kensington Oval and while they lost this month’s home ODI series with England 3-0, the majority of Carlos Brathwaite’s squad have at least been in recent collective action whereas Sarfraz Ahmed’s visitors have not played together since the final ODI at the end of January in Australia.
However, Pakistan won all three T20 meetings with the Windies in the UAE in September, days after beating England in their first game after exiting the World T20 at the group stage.
The hosts are missing Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell too and there is conjecture over whether Kieron Pollard, Samuel Badree, Sunil Narine and Lendl Simmons are available for all four matches or just two.
The best value bet, therefore, looks to be Marlon Samuels to top-score for West Indies at 9-2.
Samuels, whose 85 not out gave Brathwaite the platform for his six-hitting heroics in last March’s Kolkata final, has ticked over tidily with the Pakistan Super League winners Peshawar Zalmi and Hong Kong Blitz kings Kowloon Cantons in recent weeks.
He has also hit a ton and three fifties – including a T20 69 not out against England – in his 14 limited-overs innings in Barbados.
M Samuels top West Indies batsman
1pt 9-2 Ladbrokes, Sky Bet