England got off to the perfect start to their 2021 T20 World
Cup campaign as Eoin Morgan’s side brushed aside the defending champions with
authority in their opening fixture in Dubai. It was a day to forget for the
West Indies as the English bowlers decimated their destructive batting line-up
to dismiss the Men in Maroon for just 55 runs – the lowest score by a full
member nation in T20 World Cup history. The spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid
combined for six wickets from their 6.2 overs, while Tymal Mills bowled with
venom and accuracy on his return to the side to help England register their
first win over the West Indies at a T20 World Cup.
After opting to bowl first, the carnage started for the West
Indies in the second over as Evin Lewis miscued a slog off a slower ball from
Chris Woakes. At the other end, Eoin Morgan utilised Moeen Ali for four overs
on the trot to combat West Indies’ left-hand heavy top order, and the
off-spinner struck in his second over with the wicket of Lendl Simmons, who
holed out to deep mid-wicket. Moeen followed that up by removing Shimron
Hetmyer, and the all-rounder built up the pressure excellently with 18 dot
balls in his four-over spell.
Chris Gayle was the only West Indian batter to reach double
figures, but Tymal Mills removed the Universe Boss with a well-directed short
delivery to reduce the West Indies to 31 for four at the end of the first six.
However, things went from bad to worse after the powerplay as Mills drew the
edge from Nicholas Pooran while Dwayne Bravo cut Chris Jordan straight to the
hands of point before Adil Rashid cleaned up the tail emphatically.
Rashid uprooted the dangerous Andre Russell off the first
ball of his spell with a wrong un’ that spun through the gate before dismissing
Kieron Pollard and Obed McCoy off consecutive deliveries in his next over. The
leg-spinner rounded up the innings with the wicket of Ravi Rampaul and finished
with extraordinary figures off four wickets for two runs from his 2.2 overs as
West Indies were restricted to their second-lowest score in T20Is.
Despite losing four wickets in their innings, it was a
straightforward chase off 56 for England as Jos Buttler (24 off 22) guided the
team home with 70 balls to spare to give Eoin Morgan’s side a massive Net Run
Rate boost and a flawless start to their tournament in the UAE.