England showed just why they’ll enter the 2019 World Cup as favourites as they aced the 360-run chase and handed Windies a six-wicket loss in the first ODI in Barbados on Wednesday (February 20). Windies rattled the visitors in the first half on the back of Chris Gayle comeback ton but Jason Roy smashed 123 off 85 to ease the team into the chase before Joe Root finished things off with 102. England’s win also helped them record the fourth-highest successful chase in the history of ODI cricket.
Roy had dropped Gayle when he was on 9 and then saw the openers smoke the English bowlers to all parts of the ground. To his credit, he compensated for the grassed chance in some style as his ton reduced a tall chase to a regular one. Windies started with spin knowing Roy’s weakness against the slow bowlers but the right-hander managed to hit out Devendra Bishoo out of the attack. Once the pacers came in, Roy was settled and already in full flow.
Jonny Bairstow and Roy gave the visitors a fast start as their 91-run opening stand was enough to leave Windies reeling. Bairstow fell for 34 – caught behind trying to pull Jason Holder – in the 11th over before Root and Roy started building the chase. The collaboration fetched England 114 runs in 16.1 overs as the score soared past 200. Roy was dropped thrice during his stay as he went on to complete his ton, off 65 balls, in the 22nd over by smoking an Ashley Nurse delivery over long-on. Windies dropped five catches to hand England the advantage but eventually managed to dismiss Roy.
Trying to take on Bishoo, the opener saw his leading edge land with the short third man fielder in the 27th over. Eoin Morgan and Root got the equation down to 142 off the last 20 overs – an easy task on a flat track. Both the England captain and Root brought the equation down to 59 in the last ten overs without breaking a sweat. Morgan was dismissed with England needing 40 in the last seven overs as Oshane Thomas broke the 116-run stand. Root got to his ton in the penultimate over as he finished things in style having notched up 5000 ODI runs earlier in the day.
Earlier in the day, Windies hit 23 sixes – the most in an innings in an ODI – to canter to a challenging total. While Gayle did the bulk of the scoring, there were handy contributions from Shai Hope (64) and Darren Bravo (40). Windies lost John Campbell early but Hope’s early assault took the pressure off Gayle. The opener had laboured to 9 off 33 when he received his first reprieve.
Gayle brought up his half-century off 76 balls and scored 131 with Hope for the second wicket to dominate England. Once Hope was dismissed, Gayle teed-off, getting to his ton off 100 balls in the 35th over. It was the partnerships of Gayle and Shimron Hetmyer (60 off 30) and Gayle and Bravo (64 off 46) that really boosted Windies towards a big total. While Gayle made a frustrating start and more than made up in the end, he did slow down after crossing the 110-run mark.
As wickets fell around him, with Adil Rashid and Ben Stokes sharing six between them, Windies lost their way in the end after looking good to cross 400 at one stage.
Brief scores: Windies 360/8 in 50 overs (Chris Gayle 135; Ben Stokes 3-37) lost to England 364/4 in 48.4 overs (Jason Roy 123, Joe Root 102) by six wickets.
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