Chris Gayle’s knock of 13, the only West Indies player to hit double figures, proved unlucky for the team as England registered their maiden ICC T20 World Cup success over the Caribbean side courtesy of an emphatic six-wicket success in Dubai today (23 October).
The reigning champions began their T20 World Cup defence with a repeat of the extraordinary 2016 final against the world no.1 team, but were whittled out for just 55 on a steamy night inside the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
England, who had lost all five previous World Cup T20 encounters to the Windies, reached their total in a rapid 8.2 overs although lost wickets to end their jinx.
Veteran Gayle and Evin Lewis, the fastest man to hit a century of T20I sixes, were expected to strut their stuff at the crease with all rounder Andre Russell and skipper Kieron Pollard anticipated to chip in for the Windies.
Dwayne Bravo and recalled Ravi Rampaul added to the wealth of T20I experience for the defending champions, with the exciting young talent of relative newcomers giving the West Indies some belief at becoming the first team to win three T20I crowns.
The Windies were put in to bat in their opening Super 12 match at the T20I World Cup. Lewis smashed spinner Moeen Ali for six before their innings crumbled, with Moeen getting revenge on the opener by catching him off Chris Woakes.
Mooen then sent Lendl Simmons and no.4 Shimron Hetmyer back to the pavilion. Gayle was captured by left-armer Tymal Mills, who claimed his first England wicket since returning from an enforced four-year absence because of injury.
It was a catalogue of brief appearances at the crease for Bravo, Nicholas Pooran, Russell, Pollard, Obed McCoy and Rampaul to end on a disappointing 55 off 14.2 overs to record the tournament’s lowest ever total by a Test team.
England, without Joffra Archer and Ben Stokes, picked a line up comprising solid batsmen. Yet they too stuttered and reached 39-4 with Jason Roy (11), Jonny Bairstow (9), Moseen (3) and Liam Livingstone (1) cheap wickets thanks to Gayle’s catch off Rampual, a pair of caught and bowled from slow left-armer Akeal Hosein as well as a silly run out.
But Jos Buttler’s unbeaten knock of 24 off 22 deliveries secured success alongside captain Eoin Morgan (7no), as England scored 56-4 to maintain their conviction that they can become the first men’s team to simultaneously hold the World Cup and the T20 World Cup.
The Windies return to the Dubai International Cricket Stadium to face South Africa on Tuesday (26 October), but they will require a vast improvement at the crease if the defending champions are going to make any impact in this prestigious competition.
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