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WI Hunt Win To Keep Series Alive
LONDON, England (CMC):
West Indies are hoping the historic Oval can serve as a good-luck charm when the pivotal second one-day international (ODI) of the three-match series against England bowls off here today.
Located in south London, an area which boasts a huge West Indian population, the Oval has always been seen as a home away from home for touring West Indies teams.
In their last ODI, played at the Oval eight years ago, West Indies pulled off a thrilling two-wicket win over England to clinch the Champions Trophy, one of two wins at the venue during that tournament.
They have lost just once in nine ODIs at the Oval, and vice-captain Dwayne Bravo said he was hoping this trend could continue.
"I fancy our chances at this venue much better because we have a good record in ODIs here as West Indies players. It's a much smaller ground, and the conditions are likely to be different," the all-rounder said.
"We must make things happen in this game because we must win. And if we don't win, we lose the series."
The Caribbean side produced a limp performance in Saturday's opening ODI in Southampton to lose by 114 runs and are aware that another loss will see them surrender the series with a game still to be played.
Loose bowling allowed Ian Bell to score a dazzling 126 off 117 balls, an innings which fired England to 288 for six, off their 50 overs.
Chasing a revised 287 after rain intervened, Dwayne Smith hit a breezy 56 before the batting collapsed to leave West Indies 172 all out.
"This game is a must-win for us in order for us to be alive in the series, and we have to sit down and plan properly and then make sure we execute our plans properly."
He added: "This is not a five-match series, where we could bounce back, so we definitely have to try and get it right," he said. "We need to get some momentum.
"In the first ODI, everything seemed set and looking good to go, but we lost Chris (Gayle), we lost my younger brother (Darren), and this hampered our batting a bit, so chasing close to 300 was always going to be difficult."
Injury could again play a role in West Indies preparations as Darren Bravo has been ruled out of the tour with a groin strain, while all-rounder André Russell is also doubtful after injuring his shoulder in the opening game.
Opener Chris Gayle, who missed the first game with a leg injury, has made himself available for selection, though, he, like Russell, underwent scans yesterday and did not train with the team.
Regardless, West Indies still boast Smith, Kieron Pollard, Marlon Samuels, and Lendl Simmons - enough firepower to chase or post a challenging total.