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By VINODE MAMCHAN
Dubai is a place with many millionaires and the West Indies batsmen took it literally as they played millionaire shots that saw them fall for an embarrassing 55 runs and in the process losing to England for the first time in a T20 World Cup match.
England then made a meal of the target but got home at 56/4 wickets in 8.2 overs to claim the valuable points. After being sent in the West Indies batsmen all played like they had hot dates and wanted the match over in quick time. A quick look down and one would have missed a dismissal. England’s bowlers were on sound on a sluggish track. Skipper Eoin Morgan did the right thing on winning the toss and by the end of the powerplay he would have been justified in his decision with the West Indies limping on 31/4.
It was a position they never recovered from losing their last four wickets for just 11 runs as the leg-spinner Adil Rashid produced England’s best ever figures in the World Cup, finishing with four wickets for two runs.
West Indies needed a miracle but chasing such a tiny target they were always up against defending that and it showed by their body language as they went out. Left-arm orthodox spinner Akeal Hosein then stamped his authority, including a magnificent diving caught and bowl attempt to bring his teammates back into the clash. With England 39/4 optimistic West Indians might have thought that their Saturday would have been special. However Morgan awoke them from their dream as he calimly took England home.
Earlier, England prospered on a ‘tired’ pitch and their bowlers responded well in keeping a discipline line and length and varying pace to tremendous effect. The English surprised the West Indies by giving the new ball to Moeen Ali who did not disappoint. With the ball gripping the surface he kept the West Indies batsmen in school but it was Chris Woakes who made the initial breakthrough sending back Evin Lewis with the slow ball. Ali accounted for Simmons and this led to a major procession to and from the dugout.
Ali’s spell would have further exposed an underlying problem for the West Indies as he sent down 18 dot balls from his 24-ball offering. It again showed that the ‘big shot’ players were not interested in building an innings but slugging their way to runs. There was a total of 56 dot balls out of the 86 balls that were faced by the West Indies, making it the third highest dot ball percentage in a T20 innings. Ali’s roommate Rashid then feasted on the track and the West Indies demise was quick.
Windies skipper Keiron Pollard took the defeat in stride. “It was unacceptable, we accept that. These sorts of games sometimes, we just need to bin it. For us, it’s just a matter of finding our straps. We haven’t batted well in our three games so far. We went out, guys tried to play their shots, and it didn’t come off. I don’t think any sort of panic will come into our camp. It is what it is, we just need to take it on our chest and move on, this is international sport. Obviously, we play a lot of cricket around the world, and this is not the first time something like this has happened. We’ve played cricket around the world, and we have the experience of games like this.”
His opposite number Morgan was gleeful : “ It’s as good as it gets. To start our campaign like that, all credit to our bowling unit. The guys were very disciplined, and we took our chances. I think Moeen Ali read the conditions beautifully, he took chances when his match-up was in his favour, and to take his opportunity like he has, after the success he’s had in the IPL was brilliant.”