Brilliant centuries from Jason Roy and Joe Root helped England pull of the third-highest successful run chase in ODI cricket, as the visitors triumphed in the first match of the five-match series against Windies.
Chasing down a target of 361, England’s victory came with eight balls to spare as they pulled of their highest chase in the format. The effort followed on from Windies’ pyrotechnics with the bat – the home side hit a world-record 23 sixes in their innings, with 12 of them coming from the blade of the returning Chris Gayle. Nevertheless, it was the visitors who came out on top thanks to a brilliant all-round batting performance.
Windies’ onslaught with the bat came initially from debutant John Campbell. Having impressed with his aggression in the Test arena, Campbell enjoyed a racing start to his ODI career. After eight overs, Campbell had 30 from 25 deliveries while at the other end, Gayle was of stark contrast, appearing less than comfortable with six from 23 balls.
BREAKING: WINDIES 23 sixes in the 1st ODI against England is the world record for the most sixes by any team in an ODI innings. Well done Men in Maroon!! 🙌🙌🌴🏏 #ItsOurGame #WIvENG pic.twitter.com/bDE0E6yo6p— Windies Cricket (@windiescricket) February 20, 2019
Campbell (30) departed to Woakes in the ninth over and it brought the arrival of Shai Hope, whose Test series had been a lean one. Nevertheless, the right-hander looked in glorious touch from the early stages of his knock – Mark Wood was on the wrong end of two consecutive boundaries in the 10th over.
Gayle’s continued toil almost resulted in him departing for a desperately slow knock of nine – with Jason Roy dropping the opener off the bowling of Liam Plunkett.
Eventually things began to click for the veteran, and alongside the 25-year-old Hope, England’s bowling began to take a hit. The par put on a partnership of 131, some blistering hits for six a large part of the accumulation.
While Hope fell for 64, Gayle’s brutal ways continued – and led to Eoin Morgan holding back the introduction of Adil Rashid’s leg-spin as Moeen Ali’s off-spin was dealt with aplomb.
Gayle’s hundred arrived from 100 balls, and he celebrated by planting his helmet on top of his bat handle as he celebrated a welcome return to the Windies side.
Gayle eventually fell for 135, but the Windies lower order playing their part in helping the team to a competitive total. Ashley Nurse’s 25 came from just eight balls, while Devendra Bishoo reverse-swept Rashid for an incredible six. The final ball of the innings saw Nurse launch a maximum to take Windies to claim the six-hitting record.
Windies opened up boldly – introducing the leg-spin of Bishoo from the first over. It was an experiment that failed to reap much rewards as Roy and Jonny Bairstow enjoyed a blistering start, handling the threat of Bishoo with ease while taking plenty of runs from Oshane Thomas’ opening burst. The fifty landmark was reached inside six overs, with Bairstow smacking the ball for four through the mid-wicket region.
What a brilliant opening 20 overs for England.— ICC (@ICC) February 20, 2019
The visitors are 148/1, with Jason Roy currently unbeaten on 85 from 60 deliveries. #WIvENG | FOLLOW ⬇️
Roy, who hit a ton in England’s only warm-up fixture, appeared to be on a one-man mission to avenge his dropped catch in the first innings. His timing was as immaculate as ever, as he reeled off boundary after boundary.
The Surrey player’s fifty came from just 30 balls, and while Bairstow (34) departed to Jason Holder, the platform was set for Root who had also reached three figures in the match against University of West Indies Vice-Chancellors XI.
Throughout the England innings, the visiting batsmen enjoyed their fair share of luck with Windies’ fielders unable to cling on to a number of chances. It would come back to bite the home side.
A six off of Nurse’s off-spin saw to a seventh ODI century for Roy, and while he departed for 123, Root and Morgan made a mockery of what had appeared to be a stiff chase. While both batsmen departed before the game was sealed – Root hit a full toss to mid-wicket with the scores level – their 116-run third-wicket partnership went a long way towards England starting the series with a win.
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