Right, that’s it from me, a huge win for England to get their World Cup campaign rolling. West Indies will want to screw that one up and throw it in the bin - but they’ll be back. We’re here tomorrow for the biggest of big ones: India v Pakistan. Good night!
Brilliant to have him back: Tymal Mills: “ It’s been a long time and a lot of hard work to get out here and back out amongst the lads and be selected for the first game. I didn’t give up hope (of playing for England again) but I probably stopped thinking about it, I learnt to stop thinking more than a month ahead with my injury record unfortunately. Touch wood, I feel really good, got myself in a really good place. In these conditions, the wicket was drier than I thought, we’re going to have to assess it, be adaptable, smashing it back of a length is going to be key. West Indies batting line-up is fierce, we knew we had to stay on it, knew that we had to come hard in the power play. I want to play every game, I don’t want to be sitting out.”
Moeen Ali wins player of the match. As he should. “They do have a lot of left-handers at the top, so I knew I would be bowling early on. The role at CSK is very important for me, it feels like I’m always involved with bat and ball and on the field too, and it was the perfect preparation coming into the World Cup.”
“I thought he hit his legs really well,” says Eoin Morgan. “He took chances when his match-ups were right. The reason he hasn’t featured as much as he could is down to conditions. Hopefully he’ll make a huge contribution in this competition.”
Morgan is also full of praise for Tymal Mills and the England fielding. And confirms that Malan was bumped down the order on the altar of NRR.
What have the sides learnt today? England: that Moeen has been ridiculously underused and Rashid could win them the World Cup. That their fielding is fantastic. Oh, and they’re definitely not invincible with the bat. West Indies: that going for broke can make you look a bit daft.
Gosh Sky lost interest quickly, we already seem to have switched over to City v Brighton.
England win by six wickets!
8.2 overs: England 56-4 ( Buttler 24, Morgan 7) It’s all over with the second ball of the ninth over, as Buttler sends Pollard first for two, then clinically dispatches a short one to the long-leg boundary. Nice and easy for England; head in hands for West Indies.
8th over: England 50-4 (Morgan 7, Buttler 18) Morgan gets a couple of short ones from McCoy. He swings at one and sends it flying, narrowly missing the grip of a flying Walsh on the rope. Six needed.
7th over: England 43-4 (Morgan 2, Buttler 14) Tip and run from Morgan and Buttler after the wicket. That catch looks better each time you watch it - like Roger Harper in his pomp, a collie leaping to catch his favourite ball.
WICKET! England Livingstone c and b Hosein 1 (England 39-4)
The debate was whether Hosein had the ball under control before he landed on his catching hand, whereby some of the ball was on the ground. A good decision IMO- an astonishing catch rightly rewarded.
REVIEW! England Livingstone c and b Hosein 1 (England 39-4)
Athletic one handed grab by Hosein to his left... soft signal is OUT...
6th over: England 39-3 (Livingstone 1, Buttler 14) A little careless on the run-out front from England, luckily they don’t have a big chase on their hands.
WICKET! Moeen run-out 3 (England 36-3)
The florescent bails tell their story, Moeen out by a sneeze after Buttler sends him back over half way down the pitch.
5th over: England 30-1 (Moeen 3, Buttler 11) Moeen leapfrogs Malan too, and is is in the action straight away with a frisky few off Hosein.
WICKET! Bairstow c and b Hosein 9 (England 30-2)
A thick inside edge, well picked up in his follow through by Hosein close to the dirt. This is just a wobble. though. Isn’t it?
4th over: England 30-1 (Bairstow 9, Buttler 10) England mixing it up, sending in Bairstow over Malan. Perhaps they have net run rate in mind? (that’s assuming NRR is the tie-breaker ) . He plays himself in for two balls before kissing one down the ground for four and sending the next flying through point.
WICKET! Roy c Gayle b Rampaul 11 (England 21-1)
Deceived by the pace and Roy is too quick on it, flicking to Gayle to floats fractionally off the ground to catch.
3rd over: England 21-0 (Roy 11, Buttler 10) The first ball of Hosein’s second over is bludgeoned for six in classic Jason Roy fashion. Five singles follow as Buttler and Roy milk the strike.
Ah! inside info from Brett Turner. But sold-out as in they’re only selling a third of capacity ? Or have I got that wrong?
2nd over: England 10-0 (Roy 2, Buttler 8) Time for Rampaul with his trundly approach and pigeon chest, towel tucked into his waistband. Buttler flashes a wide one square with flash of the gloves. And all the while Phil Simmonds looks on from the dugout with a face that could curdle cream.
“My old mucker Adam Simpson is on a happy pill,” taps Rob Lewis in Istanbul. “I reckon it’s all that headbanging he did back in Bradford. I reckon it’ll be 54-2 in the 13th over.”
1st over: England 5-0 (Roy 1, Buttler 4) Tall and rangy, Hosein strides to the crease. Buttler wristily drives him through the covers for the first boundary of the innings.
Here they come, Roy and Buttler and a bucketful of expectation.
Guy Hornsby is still musing on the England batting order. I reckon Morgan has earned that No.4 spot today for his match-ups and bowling changes.
“How quickly can we win?” asks Adam Simpson. “Given that we could technically have this done and dusted in under two overs, I’m sticking my neck out and saying we’ll do it in 4.4. Anyone more/less optimistic?”
England need 56 to win
So that didn’t quite pan out as we expected. Like one of those anxiety dreams when you turn over your exam paper and realise you’ve not done any revision. West Indies were undercooked and reckless - though I guess that is always a risk with their sort of six-seeking cricket. England were fantastic in the field - catches to swag to - and smart with the ball. Four for a song for Rashid, two each for Moeen and Mills.
Tymal Mills is cornered for a chat. He reminds me of the sort of kind looking poster boy you used to get in 1980s Just 17 magazines. Without wanting to sound like Brad Carpenter’s nan, WHAT A LOVELY BOY - so glad he’s got his career back on track.
WICKET! Rampaul b Rashid 3 (West Indies 55 all out)
Rampaul gets down on one knee with dismal results. Rashid 2.2-0-2-4.
14th over: West Indies 53-9 (Rampaul 3; Hosein 6) Five runs, no wickets, quite the bubbly over for West Indies.
“WHY DOES IAN BISHOP NEED TO SHOUT AT ME ALL THE TIME!!!” asks Brad Carpenter with cotton wool in his ears. “Reminds me of my nana who thinks that because she lives so far away she has to bellow down the phone. The quality of the commentary so far has been abysmal.”
13th over: West Indies 50-9 (Rampaul 1; Hosein 3)West Indies get a cheer for making fifty runs. What a come down for the World Champs. Rashid grins and grins and grins.
WICKET! McCoy c Roy b Rashid 0 (West Indies 49-9)
Long on again. Caught again. Ah well, we’ve all had days like this. Hat-trick ball!
WICKET! Pollard c Malan b Rashid 6 (West Indies 49-8)
Pollard has a woof, but to Malan at long-on. It’s like whack a mole.
12th over: West Indies 49-7 (Pollard 6; Hosein 3) Skip at the top of his run and Mills charges in again. West Indies squeeze four singles but they need boundaries.
11th over: West Indies 45-7 (Pollard 4; Hosein 1) Do West Indies have anything left in the tank?
“These stadium announcers have a tough task ahead, writes Ian Sargeant. “This has the buzz of a damp day2 at the Saffrons.” Hmm - perhaps it is jsut today’s vibe. This Covid-safe semi-empty stadium isn’t helping.
WICKET! Russell b Rashid 0 (West Indies 44-7)
Glorious! A slider first ball which drifts between Russell’s defensive bat and optimistic bat.
10th over: West Indies 44-6 (Pollard 4; Russell 0) Just two off Jordan’s over, he is fizzing with life. At half way in their innings, West Indies can have started like a limping donkey.
Writes Tom vd Gucht: “As a long-term England supporter (even having enjoyed the glory years of Vaughan and Fletcher 2004-5, Flower and Strauss 2010-12 and Morgs and Bayliss) I’m just too preprogrammed to expect us to stuff things up.
A start this well can be lost in two ways: we won’t take another wicket and the Windies will end up playing either increased confidence before posting a respectable 140 before England collapse to 77 all out. Or we’ll skittle them for under 100 only to collapse to 17 for 6.” Oh ye of little faith, Tom. All over with six over to spare I reckon.
9th over: West Indies 42-6 (Pollard 2; Russell 0) Mills is looking tasty, a solid figures, shirt untucked, sprints in Mark Wood style, but with arms chicken-wing style, before letting fly. Pooran has a swing and miss but makes contact with his fifth ball - but not the sort he’d like. Russell has a wild swing at his first ball and luckily for the (already dismal) West Indies scorecard fails to make contact. A couple of wides - but a wicket more than evens the ledger.
“Gayle’s gone, effectively knocking the wind out of West Indies’ sails. Pardon the pun. Hetmyer was looking good but was too impetuous,” writes Column Fordham.
Yes, I fancy Hetmyer for a few this tournament too.
“England have started very well. Fielding excellent, Moeen bowling well, ably supported by Woakes and Mills.”
WICKET! Pooran c Buttler b Mills 1 (West Indies 42-6)
A slower ball, Pooran has a swing and tissues it to Buttler behind.
8th over: West Indies 37-5 (Pollard 0; Pooran 1) A third super catch by England who have shrugged on their invincibility cloaks today in the field. Bravo did have time to hit one exhilarating four off Jordan’s first ball before Morgan’s golden hand brings a wicket with his bowling change again.
WICKET! Bravo c Bairstow b Jordan 5 (West Indies 37-5)
Leans back and delivers a fat wide one from Jordan to backward point where Bairstow is crouching and ready.
7th over: West Indies 33-4 (Bravo 1; Pooran 1) Just two off Moeen’s over: he now has 2-17 off his four, thanks very much.
“Hi.” says John Starbuck. “Sending this just as Gayle loses it. I was going to ask, this is the first time we’ve really heard the drums in this tournament. How many are WI drummers, can you make out?
If they’re not Gayle’s special support claque, whose are they? And are there any Barmy Army performers?
That’s the thing about multi-international series, you can pick ‘n’ mix the entertainment.”
It’s tricky to tell - I’ll keep my eye out.
6th over: West Indies 31-4 (Bravo 0; Pooran o) Tymal Mills, looking nervous, full of deep breaths, has his first bowl of the tournament. Beats Gayle repeatedly, Gayle gets his blood up with a thrash over cover for four, then misreads the pace of the ball and miscues to Malan. End of the power play.
WICKET! Gayle c Malan b Mills 13 (West Indies 31-4)
Smasher of a catch by Dawid Malan, running backwards at midwicket and snatching the ball as it started to drop behind his head.
5th over: West Indies 27-3 (Bravo 0; Gayle 9) Dainty yet brutal from Hetmyer, dancing down to carve Moeen for two boundaries to mid wicket and extra cover. Then the wicket. West Indies shuffle the batting order to send in Bravo - panic or commonsense?
“Which is the correct response to seeing Chris Gayle at #3,” asks David Mooney.
“* Chris Gayle is still playing!?
* Of course Chris Gayle is still playing.”
WICKET! Hetmyer c Morgan b Moeen 9 (West Indies 27-3)
Heymyer jumps up and down in fury with himself after picking up Moeen Ali but sending him only as far as Eoin Morgan as mid-on
4th over: West Indies 19-2 (Hetmyer 1; Gayle 9) Gayle starts Woakes’s second over in wham-bam style: pushing him through the covers and cutting with Sunday Roast enthusiasm past Jason Roy. A couple of singles and suddenly Woakes has gone for ten.
Andrew Benton asks: “Wondering that as a dewy ball reduces control by the bowler, presumably it also increases variability for the batter - it won’t go where either of them expected, perhaps making for a more exciting game for the spectators? Or, maybe not.”
3rd over: West Indies 9-2 (Hetmyer 0; Gayle 0) Hetmyer eschews hat and helmet for blue hair as a replacement for Simmons, who won’t be writing that shot on his CV. A wicket maiden for Moeen full of variation.
WICKET! Simmons c Livingstone b Moeen 3 (West Indies 9-2)
With pin-point accuracy straight to deep midwicket where Livingstone gratefully accepts the offering.
2nd over: West Indies 9-1 (Simmonds 3; Gayle 0) Super bowling by Woakes who foxed Lewis with his slower ball. Enter Gayle, resplendent in black and blond dreadlocks. He deigns to run a single to pick up the strike, but can’t get Woakes away.
WICKET! Lewis c Moeen b Woakes 6 (West Indies 8-1)
A mis-chip brilliantly snaffled by Moeen running towards the rope and catching over his shoulder.
1st over: West Indies 7-0 (Simmonds 1; Lewis 6) Four dots, a single and a six! A couple of blobs to start before Simmonds guides Mo away to midwicket to get off the mark. Lewis pogos the last for six just to prove that West Indies really do hit more sixes than any other T20 side. The West Indies kit is lighter on the maroon than normal and heavier on the sunshine yellow.
The umpires: Dar and Erasmus
Lewis (helmet) and Symond (cap) saunter out and it looks like Moeen Ali will take the first over. The players and support staff take the knee on the pitch and around the boundary.
National anthem time and a very jaunty version of Rally Round the West Indies. Actually it’s not a bad version of GSTQ either. Jonny Bairstow by the far the most enthusiastic singer.
A reminder of the (tough) Group One teams: England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh. The top two will qualify for the semi-finals.
More dew talk: and some useful insight from Sam Curran (marooned in the studio because of his stress fracture) if you, like me, have never tried to send down a dewy ball in Dubai. “If the ball is wet it is going to take out reverse swing and also makes it difficult to bowl yorkers.”
Nasser Hussain is out in Dubai and looking very perky. ‘England are well placed but are without Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Sam Curran, which shows the depth England have. The challenges are conditions, because with the balance of the side England have gone with it would have been very difficult for the three spinners bowling with a wet ball and a bar of soap if they’d lost the toss.”
“West Indies bat very deep and are a phenomenal ball-hitting side. They are wonderful to watch. This is a game between two very strong batting sides, two vulnerable bowling sides.”
England: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wk), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Liam Livingstone, Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Tymal Mills
Wood and Curran were not available for selection
West Indies: Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Kieron Pollard (c), Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Akeal Hosein, Ravi Rampaul, Obed McCoy
England win the toss and will bowl!
thus avoiding the dew problems that have been muttered about darkly.
We hope to have teams and toss soon! Reports suggest that both Jordan and Mills could make the starting XI for England.
Australia beat South Africa by five wickets, with three balls to go in the first match of the tournament and one that felt like a bit of a warm-up for both teams. Back in the studio, Ian Ward, in fawn, has just reminded us that England v West Indies starts in 30 mins.
As Eoin Morgan licks his lips at the chance of joining MS Dhoni as the only captain to win both white-ball World Cups , while battling a death-spiral loss of form, Barney Ronay says, give him a break.
The West Indies plan?
The action starts in Dubai at 3pm BST - to wet your whistle, there’s all sorts going on at Australia v South Africa in Abu Dhabi. Adam’s got it all nailed here:
Hello! So here we are on an autumnal English afternoon transported to a hot and steamy superstadium in Dubai. England’s T20 World Cup starts with a repeat of the 2016 final against West Indies. You remember the one - when at Eden Gardens Carlos Braithwaite rocketed Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes, the inevitability of each one doubling with ever strike, to snatch the trophy from under England’s noses.
There is no Stokes this time - though eleven of the same players will be on the field - offering players like Chris Woakes and Liam Livingstone a chance to step into his boots. No Brathwaite either - left dining on memories.
England start the tournament the No.1 ranked nation with West Indies down in the doldrums in ninth. But don’t believe a word of those damn statistics : on a good day West Indies can blast anyone out of the park. As Kieron Pollard put it, theirs is a “never say die attitude.”
England have won four of their last five matches, West Indies three, but England are yet to beat West Indies in a global T20 tournament. Game on!