(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) England fired a warning shot against their title rivals with an emphatic six-wicket win over the West Indies in their opening Super 12 game of the T20 World Cup at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
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A combination of top-class bowling from the reigning ODI world champions and reckless shot-selection from the defending T20 world champions led to an embarrassing batting collapse under the Ring of Fire.
The explosive batting line-up of the West Indies succumbed to their tendency of going for the big shots as the two-time champions collapsed to 55 all out, narrowly going past their worst T20 total of 45 against the same team in 2019.
It was an evening when Moeen Ali (4-1-17-2) and Adil Rashid (2.2-0-2-4) gave a masterclass of spin bowling on a slow wicket, setting the tone for the team's comprehensive victory.
England did stutter in their chase, losing four wickets for 39. But Jos Buttler (24 not out, 22 balls, 3 fours) remained calm to guide England home in 8.2 overs.
Earlier, the West Indies innings lasted just 14.2 overs as Rashid bowled the spell of his life, cleaning up the middle and lower order after Moeen, Tymal Mills (4-0-17-2) and Chris Woakes (2-0-12-1) broke the back of the top-order.
Chris Gayle (13) was the only batsman to have reached the double figures for the West Indies.
Opting to bowl after winning the toss turned out to be an inspired move from England captain Eoin Morgan as the Calypso stars fell like ninepins.
“It was unacceptable, we accept that. These sorts of games sometimes, we just need to bin it,” a dejected Kieron Pollard said after the match.
Pollard was also guilty of poor shot selection, having gone for a big shot against Rashid only to pick Jonny Bairstow in the long-on.
With the Windies losing five wickets for 37 when the giant all-rounder came in, the team needed a partnership that could have been built on sensible batting and clever manipulation of the field.
But a team loaded with power-hitters don't seem to have a Plan B as England pounced on their vulnerability with one blow after another.
“For us, it's just a matter of finding our straps. We haven't batted well in our three games so far,” the Windies captain said, referring to their mediocre batting displays in the warm-up games.
“We went out, guys tried to play their shots, and it didn't come off. I don't think any sort of panic will come into our camp. It is what it is, we just need to take it on our chest and move on. This is international sport. Obviously, we play a lot of cricket around the world, and this is not the first time something like this has happened. We've played cricket around the world, and we have the experience of games like this.”
For his two wickets in the powerplay, Moeen was named the man-of-the-match.
"They do have a lot of left-handers at the top, so I knew I would be bowling early on,” said Moeen who came into the World Cup on the back of impressive displays for the Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Chennai Super Kings.
“The role at CSK is very important for me, it feels like I'm always involved with bat and ball and on the field too, and it was the perfect preparation coming into the World Cup."
Morgan doffed his hat to the bowlers for the clinical performance of the team.
“It's as good as it gets. To start our campaign like that, all credit to our bowling unit,” Morgan said.
“The guys were very disciplined, and we took our chances. I think Moeen Ali read the conditions beautifully, he took chances when his match-up was in his favour, and to take his opportunity like he has, after the success he's had in the IPL was brilliant.”
Rituraj Borkakoty A big fan of the Argentina national football team, Rituraj generally writes on sports. But he deeply cherishes the time he spent with his favourite musician from Assam, India, for an interview. And he loves to bring human interest stories to Khaleej Times readers. Click/tap here to subscribe to Khaleej Times news alerts on Telegram.
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