Opener offers preview of what's to come with 38-ball 58 as West Indies wins by seven wickets
At Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium, Eoin Morgan (43 not out), the stand-in captain after Stuart Broad's injury, was the lone glimmer of hope for England as Krishmar Santokie and Sheldon Cottrell restricted it to 131 for 7. West Indies overhauled the target with little fuss, getting there with 23 balls to spare.
Chasing 132, West Indies illustrated why it is considered so formidable in the 20-over format, with Gayle and Dwayne Smith (36), the openers, going at a little over nine per over in a 78-run opening stand. Tim Bresnan was the most bruised bowler in England’s attack, taken off after conceding 29 in two overs.
Smith smacked four fours and two sixes in a 30-ball knock before being caught by Jade Dernbach off James Tredwell. West Indies had a minor hiccup when Johnson Charles and Marlon Samuels were dismissed in consecutive overs, but Lendl Simmons creamed 15 runs off the 15th over, leaving Gayle to complete the formalities. Gayle slammed six fours and two sixes during his knock.
Earlier in the day, England opted to bat and lost Michael Lumb (14) after an expensive first over bowled by Santokie but continued to live dangerously. Cottrell then removed Moeen Ali for a 16-ball 22 to help reduce England to 48 for 3 in six overs.
Morgan, however, was not one to be cowed into submission. He was the chief aggressor in two 33-run stands, first with Jos Buttler and then with Ravi Bopara. But with wickets tumbling at the other end, Morgan was forced to be more circumspect than he would have liked.
Morgan struck four fours and one six in his 42-ball knock to shepherd the England innings, but with Gayle going hammer and tongs, the total proved to be insufficient.