ICC 2021 T20 World Cup: England thumps defending champions West Indies

England team
England players celebrate a wicket against West Indies

England started their 2021 ICC T20 World Cup campaign on a perfect note as the English side exacted revenge on defending champions West Indies by thumping them in a 6-wicket win.

After winning the toss, the England skipper Eoin Morgan chose to field first citing dew and a short boundary on one end as big factors behind the decision. 

West Indies named a star-studded playing XI with the mixture of experience and youth boding well for the Caribbean side. England already had multiple star players missing due to injuries from the squad and had to leave out the fast-bowling duo of Mark Wood and Tom Curran due to niggles ahead of their tournament opener.

West Indies got off to the worst possible start as Evin Lewis smacked Moeen Ali for a maximum in the 1st over before giving away his wicket to Chris Woakes in the 2nd over. Ali got his wicket in the next over as Simmons was caught at long-on leaving the defending champions bemused with both openers back to the pavilion after the first 14 balls of the match.

Chris Gayle and Shimron Hetmyer put together the biggest partnership of the innings consisting of four exquisite boundaries in a couple of overs before Ali dismissed the Delhi Capitals batsman as well. On the last ball of the powerplay, Tymal Mills struck Gayle’s crucial wicket courtesy of Dawid Malan’s brilliant catch and the Caribbean team was left struggling at 31/4 after 6 overs.

Chris Jordan removed the promoted Dwayne Bravo from the crease before Nicholas Pooran was dismissed by Mills left the West Indies in a big puddle at 42/6 before the end of the 9th over.

Adil Rashid went through the Indies lower order as he claimed the wickets of big-hitter Andre Russell, skipper Kieron Pollard, and two tailenders in Obed McCoy and Ravi Rampaul getting the champions bowled out for 55.

West Indies recorded their second-lowest total in T20Is on the night and their worst in a T20 World Cup as only one batsman could record a score in double digits with veteran Gayle scoring 13 runs off 13 balls.

Also read: Sri Lanka qualifies for the Super 12s stage after thumping Ireland in a 70-run victory 

Chasing a minuscule total of 56 runs, opening batsmen Jason Roy and Jos Buttler started brightly as they hit two boundaries and a maximum in the first 3 overs before Roy perished to a slower delivery from Rampaul.

Jonny Bairstow came out at No.3 and smacked two consecutive boundaries in handsome fashion before getting dismissed by Akeal Hosein. Ali walked to bat at No.4 but the all-rounder was run-out after a miscommunication with Buttler that paved the way for Liam Livingstone at the crease.

Livingstone was dismissed ‘caught and bowled’ by Hosein and the catch would definitely go down as one of the best catches of the ongoing tournament regardless of what’s to come in the near future. The partnership of skipper Morgan and vice-captain Buttler saw through the rest of the run-chase as the English team chased the target down in only 8.2 overs with 70 balls to spare.

England is now perched at the top of Group 1 in the Super 12s stage with Australia in the second position after defeating South Africa in the tournament opener. Sri Lanka faces Bangladesh on Sunday in the afternoon fixture to call curtains on the first round of fixtures in Group 1.

It was a day to forget for the Pollard-led nation and it could soon turn into a tournament to forget if they don’t show their true might in the upcoming matches with tough oppositions in South Africa, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Australia waiting for their turn to face the reigning champions.