WORLD CUP 2019
Mark Wood and Jofra Archer picked three wickets each. © AFP
Evin Lewis cleaned up, Chris Gayle caught top-edging a pull to the deep and Shai Hope trapped leg-before. By the 14th over, West Indies were 55 for 3, a point where their ‘natural game’ was the only option they could choose from. When offered, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran chose the other alternative.
There was a period of an hour or thereabouts, when the left-handed duo occupied the crease, that West Indies looked equals in the contest. Maybe not as imposing as their all-attack line-up on paper threatens to be, but at least meriting their stay against the top ODI side in the world. Everything before and after was about England’s pacers setting them back on a lively pitch at the Rose Bowl.
Chris Woakes’ movement, Jofra Archer’s bounce and Mark Wood’s pace had West Indies reeling after being put into bat. It had taken Hetmyer and Pooran some serious biding at the wicket to lay a platform that had once promised a reasonable total, if not challenging enough for England’s mighty batting line-up. They played conventional middle-over cricket, relying on singles and twos rather than boundaries.
And just when they found themselves at home, settling an otherwise uneven battle, Joe Root’s part-time offbreaks, making up for the absence of Moeen Ali who had to sit out to accommodate England’s five-man pace attack, proved ample enough to cause the damage. Two return catches by Root left West Indies slipping from 144 for 3 to 156 for 5 – a position from where they never recovered. Hetmyer and Jason Holder were back in the dressing room.
Andre Russell, however, refused to budge from his game. An early reprieve aside, match situation pointless, he kept swinging his way to big runs. Even as there was almost 14 overs remaining, his compulsiveness to pull proved to be his undoing yet again. Eventually, he fell prey to a short delivery, failing to have his top-edge carry any further than the deep mid wicket fielder; his 16-ball 21 not significant enough in the team’s cause or in the match situation.
Archer’s pace eventually proved too hot for the West Indies lower order to handle. Even Pooran, who had compiled a mature 63 in his 78-ball stay, couldn’t get away from the line in time and gloved a ball to the ‘keeper. Even as the umpires had another ordinary stay, England managed to overturn two decisions in their favour. Archer and Wood finished with three wickets apiece as West Indies folded up for 212.
Brief Scores: West Indies 212 in 44.4 overs (Nicholas Pooran 63, Shimron Hetmyer 39; Mark Wood 3-18, Jofra Archer 3-30) vs England.