We fought back hard and gave ourselves a good chance, says England half-centurion Alex Hales
If the West Indies Cricket Board is looking for a new revenue stream, it should sell tickets to press conferences that Darren Sammy is involved in. Although he wasn’t there to address the post-match press conference, Sammy parked himself in the front row, in the middle of the reporters, when Johnson Charles sat behind the microphones.
Charles, who like Sammy is from St Lucia, did not quite know what to make of the fact that his captain put his hand up insistently, attempting to ask Charles a question. It took Philip Spooner, West Indies’ media manager, to finally silence the prankster.
Charles, Man of the Match for his 84 at the top of the order, a score he has not bettered even in ODIs or list-A matches, had no airs about him, and did not feel the need to sugarcoat his answers. When asked if it was easy to score off this England attack, he said, “Yeah, it was easy. Just as (Chris) Gayle can hit the ball far, I back myself to be able to hit the ball long and far and score quickly.”
Charles, who was outpaced by Gayle early on, stepped on the pedal once Gayle was dismissed. “If you’re batting with Gayle you know his ability, you know what he can do,” he said. “You just have to give him the strike, sit back and watch. I wouldn’t say that I made a name for myself tonight. But I’m looking to do that in the process of helping the team win the tournament.”
Charles said that while Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales batted well, the West Indies had the game under control at all times. He also sounded a warning: “That’s my highest score. But I can definitely do better. Hopefully, in the next match I can get a hundred.”
Hales, who had the best seat in the house to witness Morgan’s attempted revival, said that Morgan ensured that there was the belief that England could pull it off. “It was always going to be tough chasing down that total after being 0 for 2 but I thought we fought back very well to give ourselves half a chance towards the end,” said Hales. “Morgan kept me going. He told me that it was a great opportunity for us to see England over the line in a tough situation. He was very calm.”
Morgan, who made an unbeaten 71, could not quite finish the game off, but Hales insisted that batting him at No. 5 was the right call. “We think his skills are ideally suited to playing in the middle overs, and that’s why he batted where he did,” explained Hales. “Hindsight’s a great thing, isn’t it? If Jonny Bairstow got going, he could’ve been a matchwinner. It just didn’t happen on the day.”