Chris Gayle - The man England must stop in West Indies clash

Chris Gayle feasted on England bowling in the Caribbean and now the West Indies man poses the big World Cup threat to Eoin Morgan's team.

The last time Gayle faced England, he smashed a record 39 sixes in a drawn five-match series.   -  Getty Images

England has the weight of history on its side going into the Cricket World Cup clash with West Indies, but Chris Gayle respects history like he respects opposition bowlers.

However directly a raft of statistics point to a likely England victory on Friday in Southampton, Eoin Morgan's side only needs a look back barely four months for a reminder that West Indies opener Gayle can devastate the best-laid plans.

Gayle made 135, 50, 162 and 77 in the ODI series between the teams in the Caribbean this year, scoring at an average of 106 and at an intimidating strike rate.

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The final onslaught in that sequence saw Gayle make his 77 runs from 27 balls as West Indies won the final ODI in St Lucia to draw the series 2-2, and the showman is bound to be relishing a reunion with the likes of Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid.

West Indies could do with some Gayle force behind its batting, given a mixed start to their World Cup campaign which has seen them beat Pakistan emphatically, lose a close game to Australia and then endure an abandonment against South Africa.

England has won its last five World Cup matches against the Windies, most recently in Chennai at the 2011 tournament when Andrew Strauss led his team to a hard-fought 18-run victory.

The tournament host also has a strong recent record at the Rose Bowl, achieving victories in its last four ODI matches there. That run includes a nine-wicket drubbing of West Indies two years ago when Jason Roy blazed 96 and Jonny Bairstow cracked a rapid 141 not out as England chased down 288-6 with nonchalant ease.

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England will again look to those openers to give themselves a platform on Friday, and further down the order should have wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler in their ranks and ready to contribute after a hip injury scare.

Buttler cracked a personal-best 150 from 77 balls against the West Indies attack at St George's back in February, highlighting his big-hitting threat. A host of ODI records were broken in that match, when England amassed 418-6 and won by 29 runs, with an unprecedented 46 sixes hit.

With Barbados-born paceman Jofra Archer newly added to the England ranks there is extra intrigue to the occasion.

Archer has bowled well in two out of three World Cup matches so far but was victim of a shellacking from Pakistan's batsmen at Trent Bridge, a reminder he is a rookie at this level.