England fast bowler Mark Wood has come up with a simple plan for stopping West Indies big-hitter Chris Gayle in Southampton
on Friday: let loose Jofra Archer.
Wood and Archer both topped 95mph during the win over Bangladesh at the weekend, and are spurring each other on as they each seek the accolade of the World Cup's fastest bowler.
But England will need to stop Gayle if they are to see off a West Indies side who recently held them to a 2-2 draw in the Caribbean – the only bilateral series in the last 11 Eoin Morgan's team have not won. Gayle thrashed 39 sixes in the four games, while his scores included 135 and 162.
So how might Wood look to keep him quiet? 'Get Jofra to bowl at him!' he said.
'He is destructive and on his day he is hard to stop. In the West Indies he was in great form, but you didn't know how he was going to play. Some days he would get himself in and take his time and other days he would go ballistic from ball one.'
Wood and Archer are forming quite a double-act – to the benefit of other members of England's attack.
'It is great that we can pose that threat,' said Wood. 'When real pace bowling is on show, it definitely ruffles a few feathers. It might not even get wickets for you, but it gets wickets for other people, and I know Moeen talks about how people play him slightly differently because of me and Jofra.
'It's exciting and frustrating, because he makes it look so easy. I have to nearly break my back to get it as fast as him, and he's got no problems cranking it up.
'I'm thinking: 'Jofra's just flicking his wrist and it is coming out like a rocket!' There might be a bit more in the tank if he really wants it. I think he's just toying with me at the minute.'