WORLD CUP 2019
Root scored his second hundred of 2019 World Cup. © AFP
Pathetic with the bat, listless on the field, one-dimensional with the bowling: is how Michael Holding chose to describe West Indies’ performance at the Rose Bowl on Friday. It might sound harsh but it isn’t too far from the truth. That they hadn’t managed to put up a good score was bad enough, but the trail of the game fell further down as their six-man pace battery proved toothless in their bid to defend the below-par total.
Led by Joe Root’s century, England cruised to the target despite being two batsmen short: Eoin Morgan and Jason Roy, both of whom had injured themselves in the first innings. There were injury concerns for their opposition as well, with both Shannon Gabriel and Andre Russell spending time in the dressing room healing themselves. However, the game had slipped away even before they could threaten the hosts, courtesy a quickfire 95-run opening stand between Root and Jonny Bairstow.
Even after Bairstow fell in the 15th over, playing an uppercut to third man, West Indies could never pull themselves back into the contest. Chris Woakes, promoted to No 3, made good use of the opportunity and spent over an hour in the middle, batting 54 deliveries for 40 runs, and adding a century stand with Root for the second wicket. He fell just 14 runs short of the winning target, becoming Gabriel’s second scalp but that was the last of West Indies’ success on the evening.
With two batsmen short and a reasonably low target to chase down, the platform was perfectly set for Root to carve in his natural game. It helped that despite the pace, West Indies couldn’t pose many questions to the batsmen. If anything, they only worsened matters for themselves by conceding 15 wides. In the penultimate over of the chase, Root brought up his second century of the world cup.
England won the contest comfortably – by 8 wickets – but the dominance was asserted right from the moment they put West Indies to bat. Against Jofra Archer’s pace and Woakes’s swing, West Indies had a torrid first spell to deal with. By the 14th over – when England were cruising towards the 100-run mark in their first wicket stand – West Indies were reeling at 55 for 3. Evin Lewis cleaned up, Chris Gayle caught and Shai Hope trapped leg-before.
Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran provided the only phase of the day where West Indies weren’t being dominated. The left-handed duo curbed their natural style of play and rebuilt the innings with an 89-run partnership. It was an ideal platform for the big-hitting lower middle order to cash in. But Root picked two return catches off his bowling and begin a slide. Archer took charge thereafter, dismissing Pooran, who had compiled a mature half-century, and troubling the lower order with his pace and bounce. Archer and Mark Wood returned with three wickets apiece as West Indies were eventually bundled out for 212.
Brief Scores: West Indies 212 in 44.4 overs (Nicholas Pooran 63, Shimron Hetmyer 39; Mark Wood 3-18, Jofra Archer 3-30) lost to England 212/3 in 33.1 overs (Joe Root 100*, Jonny Bairstow 45; Shannon Gabriel 2-49) by 8 wickets.