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by Donovan Miller Friday 1 April 2016
After correctly predicting England and West Indies would win through to the ICC World T20 final, Chris Gayle Academy director Donovan Miller thinks the side from the Caribbean are favourites to win overall - but only just.
That was a good win for West Indies last night and I'm quite pleased that they have come through.
However, even I was thinking "someone's going to have to do something special here to win the game" after the start they had with Chris Gayle missing a full toss and Marlon Samuels struggling against the quicks. With Johnson Charles, you might think he could get out every ball but he stuck to his strengths and played a match-winning innings.
England played well to beat New Zealand. Their bowlers are bowling with confidence and they've been given backing - Chris Jordan and Ben Stokes in particular, who people have doubted - and now they are bowling very well as a pair at the end of the innings, and so is Liam Plunkett, who bowls quick up front with the new ball.
The spinners haven't really performed as well as England fans would like them to, but maybe if the pitch in Kolkata takes turn, Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali will bowl better there.
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It's been interesting following the World T20 with the Chris Gayle Academy. We have a mixture of different backgrounds among the guys at the academy, and many come from Asian backgrounds.
Most of the guys were cheering for India, Pakistan and some for Afghanistan and Bangladesh, but even for the English guys at the Academy, their second team is West Indies thanks to the Chris Gayle connection. All of the lads were quite pleased and happy to see the West Indies go through even if their teams haven't made it.
The atmosphere and fun the West Indies bring to the game is fantastic. I was showing my sons the video of them dancing after the game - both of them are English but they are now saying they want to play for West Indies because they have so much fun!
Looking ahead to the final, it is really tricky to pick a winner. England are playing with freedom and confidence at the moment and they are playing without fear. If they play like they have been they are going to come very close to winning, if not winning.
However, you have to also look at the West Indies and they are in a similar mood. They have a number of experienced and confident players - guys who have experience of playing in the IPL and are very used to Indian conditions.
I think they might just have the Indian crowd behind them on Sunday as well. Remember Andre Russell is a Kolkata Knight Riders player, and plays at the venue regularly, so there is a case to be made for West Indies to be slight favourites.
West Indies have managed to win games even though Gayle hasn't scored big runs in the last couple of matches, and if you look at how he has been dismissed you wouldn't say he's out of form. England will be thinking they can get him out before he's really got in. Knowing Chris, he's going to want to get a score for himself and for the team. He's going to want to play a big part in helping the West Indies win.
Look at Lendl Simmons, who came straight off the plane and played that brilliant innings against India. That was a huge positive. With the current batting line-up, there are players who don't rotate the strike, but they've been doing that since 2012.
What they have done, or what it looks to me as if they have done, is the coaching staff are backing those guys to play to their strengths. Rotating the strike is maybe not their strength so (head coach) Phil Simmons is backing them to hit one or two boundaries every over. There's no point in changing things now they are in the final.
England are going to come hard at West Indies and try to squeeze them, drying up the runs, but I don't think they can stop them from hitting boundaries as there is so much power in that team.
England might be relieved that they aren't playing India in the final, as they would be facing them on a turning wicket, but it's going to be interesting to see what sort of wicket we get on Sunday. I would love to see a wicket like the one they just played on in Mumbai, but Kolkata is not known for that.
You might see the ball turn more, and if that happens with Samuel Badree and Sulieman Benn in such good form, they will feel right at home, even if West Indies win the toss. It's going to be another crucial toss, of course, taking into consideration the dew factor, which Virat Kohli spoke about after the semi-final. It's a crucial toss to win.
So who's going to win? Looking at everything, I just feel that West Indies have the edge, England have nothing to lose. Thanks to the IPL, West Indies are familiar with conditions, understand how the crowd reacts, and know about the dew factor. They have everything in their favour.
If both sides play their best cricket I think West Indies will come out on top - it's as simple as that.
England will have to be at their best and hope for West Indies to slip up, but if both teams play at their best, it should be a cracking game.
It would be great to see a high-scoring game. We don't want to sit down on Sunday afternoon and watch a low-scoring game. I hope we see a good batting wicket for both teams and the team that plays the best cricket will be the deserved winners.
© Cricket World 2016