By Rex Clementine
England’s title defense of the ICC T-20 World Cup hadn’t gone to plan in the first round, but they got their act together in the Super Eight stage with a comprehensive win over West Indies on Wednesday in St. Lucia.
Opening batter Philip Salt made an unbeaten 87 off 47 to help England to an eight wicket win with 15 balls to spare.
Jonny Bairstow deserved much credit as well for helping England accelerate when they most wanted it. He finished on 48 not out off 26 balls with five fours and two sixes.
Although the scorecard suggests that it was a convincing win for England, it was in fact a cat and mouse game. West Indies were in the hunt until the 16th over of the game.
That over bowled y Romario Shepherd went for 30 runs with Salt hitting three sixes and three fours and it was much over for West Indies from that point. It was one of the most expensive overs of the T-20 World Cups.
West Indies started off well bowling spin with the new ball but once Nicholas Pooran dropped Salt early in his innings the hosts were playing catch up.
After being put into bat, West Indies were cruising along in the Power Plays reaching 54 for no loss. England spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid pulled things back with some disciplined bowling.
A total of 180 for four without a single half-century in the innings was a decent effort.
Brandon King, who smashed 23 off 13 balls had to pull out with a side strain and didn’t return to resume his innings. His World Cup campaign may well be over.
Johnson Charles laid the platform to the innings adding 38 in 34 balls.
It was Rovman Powell who provided the much-needed impetus to the innings batting at number four. The West Indian captain hit 36 off 17 balls including five sixes. Three of those sixes came in an over bowled by Liam Livingstone.
England’s net run rate should stand them in good stead moving into the knockouts as they won with more than two overs to spare.