Dubai: England’s display against West Indies was so overwhelming that it was the hosts all the way. Sorry, there was no turning point in the contest, not even the toss went in West Indies’ favour as England ticked all the right boxes.
Such was the domination that there were many opportunities or incidents, which could have been exploited by West Indies to shift the contest in their favour. But that was not to be. England overturned every misfortune or error to bring the contest back on their winning path against the Caribbeans, who are one of the top contenders of the title.
When dangerous Chris Gayle was dropped early in his innings, one expected him to make England pay dearly. The hosts soon after came up with a game plan to dismiss the opener, bouncing him out caught at deep square leg.
Similarly, when Andre Russell was dropped by Chris Woakes at deep midwicket, the West Indian fans must have felt a huge sigh of relief as Muscle Russell is capable of taking the match away right under the rivals’ nose, but again, like Gayle, Russell was also bounced out, but this time Woakes did not make any mistake to dismiss the all-rounder, with it dent West Indies’ hopes.
Everything that England did worked towards their advantage. Even twice the referrals went in the hosts’ favour, when Shai Hope was given not out and subsequently overturned by the third umpire. Similarly, the classy Nicholas Pooran was ruled out after England opted to use their referral again. The Three Lions right on the money on both occasions. The bowling changes, field placements and every aspect of the game was spot on.
When opener Jason Roy pulled the hamstring muscle while fielding early in West Indies innings, making him ineligible to bat early in the order, and later skipper Eoin Morgan left the field with a back problem while fielding, there were faint hopes that West Indies will be able to capitalise on the fortunate opening. Joe Root, who walked in with Jonny Bairstow, ensured that they have the depth in talent to alter their misfortune into their advantage.
Finally, when West Indies got rid of Bairstow, in walked Woakes, who normally bats way down the order, and maintained the tempo. With an eight-wicket win, England have sent a strong warning that it will take a special effort from the rivals to bring conquer them.