Hosts England face West Indies in a crucial game of the ICC 2019 Cricket World Cup at Southampton. England have played three matches so far and have won two of them while suffering a surprising defeat at the hands of Pakistan. West Indies on the other hand, have won and lost one game each while their match against South Africa was washed out due to rain.
It would also be a big day for Jofra Archer as he would be playing for England against his native West Indies for the very first time. For cricket fans frustrated by washouts in this World Cup, the return of action would be a relief.
England saunter to an easy win over listless West Indies
Led by a smooth hundred from Joe Root, England registered a comfortable 8-wicket win over West Indies. The Caribbean side appeared absolutely listless and halfway through the chase, the result of the match was clear to everyone.
The West Indians struggled with injuries with bowlers like Andre Russell and Sheldon Cottrell unable to bowl long spells and the Jason Holder-led team decided to lean on an aged Chris Gayle's innocuous off-breaks to try and stall the progress of England. But it was never going to be.
The promotion of Woakes to no. 3 proved to be successful as the new ball bowler scored a fluent 40 and had a partnership of over 100 runs with Root. But the day belonged to England's Test captain who first made a mark by picking up two crucial wickets during West Indies' innings which led to a complete collapse of the batting order. He then came out to open the innings and scored one of the easiest hundreds of his career.
With this victory, England now have three wins from four matches while West Indies now have two lossess to go alongside one win and one match washed out. While things are going largely as per the plan for the hosts, West Indies would need a complete reboot to get their campaign on track. The place of Carlos Brathwaite would be under doubt as he is unable to contribute either with the bat or ball. England's next match would be against Afghanistan, a match they would be overwhelming favourites to win.
England on their way to easy victory
With Jason Roy unable to open the innings due to a hamstring niggle, Joe Root came out to open the innings with Jonny Bairstow and got his team off to a great start. While Jonny Bairstow got out trying to up the ante, Root continued in his sweet way to get to a half century at almost run-a-ball. With less than hundred runs to get and nine wickets in hand, England are on their way to an easy victory.
The only interesting thing about the contest was the shuffling of the batting order as even Eoin Morgan had gone off the field during West Indies' innings and couldn't come in to bat before a certain period of time had elapsed. So, when the first wicket fell, England decided to send in Chris Woakes at no. 3.
On a pitch where England bowlers kept things tight due to a good line and length, West Indian pacers proved innocuous. Partly, that may have been due to the better conditions but lack of discipline in line and length also played a part.
Windies bundled out for 212
In a satisfying performance by thier bowlers in helpful conditions, England bowled out West Indies for just 212 in 44.4 overs. After reducing the Windies side to 188/6 in 36.3 overs, the English bowlers finished the job by bringing back their main attacking pacers, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood. The former got the key wicket of Nicholas Pooran, the only batsman able to defy England for long, when he was on 63. This effectively ended the Windies resistance as Archer got two more and Wood finished off the innings with a yorker to the no. 11 Shannon Gabriel. Both bowlers finished with three wickets each while Plunkett and Woakes picked up one apiece. The surprise factor was Joe Root who got two scalps including the most important one of Shimron Hetmyer after he had a partnership of 89 with Pooran.
Russell out attempting another big hit
After a frenetic innings where he scored 21 runs off 15 balls, Andre Russell was dismissed in attempting another big shot. After being dropped at deep mid-wicket by Chris Woakes, Russell hit the unlucky bowler Adil Rashid for consecutive sixes. He also hit Mark Wood for a four before attempting another big stroke in the form of a pull but managed only a top edge which was safely taken by Woakes. West Indies are now 188/6 from 36.3 overs.
Woakes drops a skier off Russell
It seems like Andre Russell has decided to counter attack England. He went for a big slog sweep against the spin of Adil Rashid and got a top edge which was dropped by Chris Woakes at deep midwicket. He was under the ball but just couldn't hold on.
Root gets Holder out with another caught and bowled!
Part-time spinner Joe Root is turning out to be the golden arm for England in their World Cup match against West Indies as he picked up his second wicket of the day - Jason Holder. The West Indies captain was dismissed in the same manner as Shimron Hetmyer a little bit earlier - caught and bowled.
The West Indians have only themselves to blame as the delivery that got Holder out was another innocuous ball. However, the tall batsman, who had hit a six on the previous delivery, somehow contrived to get a leading edge which Root accepted with a gleeful smile. West Indies now find themselves in serious danger of collapsing for a low total. Their hopes rest on Nicholas Pooran who got to his 50 off 56 balls and Andre Russell, the all-rounder.
Hetmyer throws his wicket away to Root
Just when the partnership between Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran was starting to prosper and the two batsmen seemed to be getting into a nice flow, part-time off-spinner Joe Root got the important wicket of Hetmyer.
The young West Indian left-hander patted an inoccuous delivery from Root back to him to be dismissed on a personal score of 39 off 48 balls. With the 89-run partnership between him and Pooran at an end, West Indies' chances of getting a competitive total against a very strong English batting line-up have suffered a huge blow. West Indies were 144/4 after Hetmyer's dismissal and their captain Jason Holder has come out to bat.
Pooran and Hetmyer go on the offensive
After dealing with tight, disciplined bowling from the four frontline pace bowlers of England, Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer tried to open their arms against Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid. However, the two had great difficulties in timing the ball on a pitch where, at the start of the innings, Jofra Archer was causing difficulties with extra bounce.
However, after several failed attempts, the two batsmen finally succeeded in attacking the spin-pace duo of England. They first targeted Adil Rashid whose form in this event hasn't been as good as expected. Once they managed to get their timing right, the two men then played aggressive shots against Stokes also.
England may well have to bring one of their strike bowlers back on to get the breakthrough as this partnership is starting to make an impact.
Wood and Plunkett keep Windies on a leash
After a testing spell of new-ball bowling from Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes, England's first and second change bowlers - Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood - kept the pressure up on West Indies by bowling a disciplined line and length. The two young batsmen at the crease, Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer, had to give up their natural style of aggressive batting to try and prevent another wicket from falling.
Occassionally, the batsmen tried to break loose and hit away boundaries but the tight line and length with a little bit of help still left for the bowlers prevented the two from keeping the scored board moving. West Indies were 79/3 when Ben Stokes was brought into the attack.
Wood gets Hope through DRS
Shai Hope followed Chris Gayle to the pavillion in the very next over when he was trapped leg-before wicket by Mark Wood. A fullish delivery angled in to Hope was attempted to be played onto the leg side by the Windies batsman but he missed it and looked in danger. But umpire Kumara Dharmasena adjudged the batsman not out, prompting England to use DRS which showed the ball hitting the stumps convincingly. West Indies 55/3
Plunkett gets restless Gayle!
Liam Plunkett once again showed his propensity to pick up wickets by getting Chris Gayle dismissed in the 13th over. The last ball of the over was a short delivery that the Jamaican batsman, who was looking for some big shots to get going, tried to deposit in the stands but could only manage to reach Jonny Bairstow at deep mid-wicket. West Indies 54/2.
West Indies get through first spell of opening bowlers with one wicket down
While there may have been chances, near misses and a dropped catch, the duo of Chris Gayle and Shai Hope have managed to wade their way through the first spell by England's new ball bowlers Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer.
The tactics used by the two seamers were entirely different. While Woakes focussed on bowling a fuller length and getting the ball to swing, Archer decided to use his pace and trouble the batsmen with extra bounce.
Hope showed good technique in keeping most deliveries at bay, especially those rising sharply at him. However, he also tried to play some aggresive shots when the ball was pitched a little fuller but couldn't find the gap. Chris Gayle also attempted some big shots but wasn't able to always succed. After Woakes and Archer, Liam Plunkett and Mark Wood have been brought on by Eoin Morgan.
Gayle cutting loose
While Archer and Woakes continue to bowl a good line and length and test the batsmen, Chris Gayle has decided to cut loose and go after the English bowlers. He first pulled Archer for four in the 8th over and then tried an upper cut. In the ninth over, he smashed Woakes for a four and a six in consecutive deliveries.
Chris Gayle dropped!
Chris Woakes got Gayle to play a big shot in an attempt to hit him off his line and got a big top edge. But the fielder at deep 3rd man dropped what should have been a relatively easy catch. The guilty person being Mark Wood.
ICC 2019 Cricket World Cup, England vs West Indies: Live updates and analysis
In a very important match for the West Indies team, they face hosts and favourites England at Southampton. After winning the toss, Eoin Morgan decided to bowl first, reinforcing the idea that his team prefers to chase. Also the overcast conditions are such that bowling first seems to be the preferred choice of not just England but also West Indies. Jason Holder did say that he would also have chosen to bat second on winning the toss.
West Indies made three changes to their team and brought opener Evin Lewis back into the playing XI as an opener while Shannon Gabriel too comes in and replaces Kemar Roach. Andre Russell is back in the playing XI also. England remain unchanged even though Moeen Ali is available.
The English new ball pair of Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes started well and got the ball to move appreciably in the air and off the deck also. Woakes, perhaps the most skillful in the art of swing bowling among the seamers in the hosts' squad bowled a superb line in the first couple of overs while Archer decided to try the short ball as well. But it was a magnificent in-swinging yorker that got Woakes the wicket of Evin Lewis.
Chris Gayle is batting very cautiously while Shai Hope, arguably the best batsman in the team, in terms of technique, is at the crease.