England bowled West Indies out for 55 as they made a stunning start to their Men’s T20 World Cup campaign with a six-wicket win in Dubai.
In a near-perfect bowling performance, England humiliated the defending champions by dismissing them in 14.2 overs. Adil Rashid took a barely believable 4-2 while Moeen Ali and Tymal Mills were brilliant, both claiming 2-17.
Chris Gayle was the only West Indies batter to reach double figures in a feeble batting display – the second-lowest total against England in the T20s.
Although England lost four wickets as they attempted to wrap up victory and increase their net run-rate in Group 1 of the Super 12s, it was still a statement opening win from the world’s top-ranked side and one of the tournament favourites.
Opener Jos Buttler ended 24 not out as the chase was completed with a massive 11.4 overs to spare.
England – bidding to become the first team to hold the 50-over and 20-over World Cups – face Bangladesh in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday and Australia in Dubai next Saturday.
Earlier on Saturday, Australia held their nerve to chase 119 and beat South Africa by five wickets in Abu Dhabi.
Dream start for emphatic England
This match was a repeat of the 2016 World T20 final, won by the West Indies after Carlos Brathwaite hit four consecutive sixes in the final over.
Despite England’s batting wobble, the rematch was not as dramatic, but it was no less staggering.
West Indies are fancied to do well in this tournament, not least because of their vaunted batting line-up. But instead of racking up runs, their batters slumped back to the dressing room in a sorry procession.
England were majestic with the ball and in the field as every move made by Morgan came off.
After winning the toss he handed the new ball to off-spinner Moeen, who dismissed Lendl Simmons and Shimron Hetmyer within three accurate overs.
Mills marked his return to international recall by having Gayle caught in his first over at a World Cup.
Adil Rashid, usually England’s big T20 threat, was not needed until the 11th over, but when he was introduced he bowled Andre Russell with his first ball. The leg-spinner went on to blow away the tail.
West Indies fail to fire
England were excellent but West Indies’ performance with the bat raised questions about their method in T20 cricket.
England bowled 43 dot balls in the first 10 overs, their most in that period since 2012.
West Indies’ approach seemed to be to block or try to hit a six – or, on this occasion, block or bust – as batters fell repeatedly to attacking strokes.
They salvaged some pride with the ball, Akeal Hosein taking a fine diving catch to have Liam Livingstone caught and bowled, and all is not lost for them, with the top-two teams in the two six-team groups progressing to the semi-finals.
Two of the three lowest scores in T20 World Cup history have now been scored in the last two days – Sri Lanka bowled the Netherlands out for 44 on Friday – while Australia and South Africa played out a low-scoring thriller earlier on Saturday.
The early signs are that this may not be a high-scoring World Cup.
Courtesy: BBC Sport