As nightfall hit Dubai, defending champion West Indies took on England in a Super 12 match of the ICC T20 World Cup on Saturday. But the euphoria of that title win five and half years back fizzled out as West Indies began its campaign with a meek defeat.
Batting first, West Indies collapsed for 55, its second-lowest T20I score. England then stuttered in response, losing four wickets before getting home in 8.2 overs. Akeal Hosein’s athletic one-handed stunner off his bowling to dismiss Liam Livingstone was the lone silver lining for Kieron Pollard’s men.
Earlier, West Indies suffered an early blow when, in the second over, Chris Woakes deceived Evin Lewis with a slower ball and Moeen Ali ran back from mid-off to catch the ball over his shoulder.
In the next over, Moeen accounted for Simmons, who hit one straight to deep midwicket. With two left-handers — Chris Gayle and Shimron Hetmyer — at the crease, Moeen, who opened the bowling, got a third over in the PowerPlay. The move paid instant dividends when Hetmyer flat batted one to Eoin Morgan at mid-on.
Meanwhile, Gayle started his innings in attacking fashion: driving Woakes through the covers before cutting one past Jason Roy. But he couldn’t keep up the intensity, miscuing a pull off Tymal Mills to Dawid Malan, who ran backwards at midwicket and held on to the ball.
Gayle’s dismissal also bookended the PowerPlay, during which England snaffled four wickets and went for a tad over five an over. Moeen bowled his four overs on the trot, returning figures of 2 for 17 including a staggering 18 dot balls.
With England making quick inroads, West Indies sent Dwayne Bravo at 5. But he fell for a run-a-ball five as West Indies lost half its side for less than 50.
Mills, returning to the international setup after four years, had Nicholas Pooran caught behind for his second wicket of the match. The scoreboard went from 42 for 6 in the ninth over to 44 for 7 in the 11th with Andre Russell getting clean bowled by Adil Rashid for a duck.
The leggie then got rid of Pollard and Obed McCoy off successive balls before clean bowling Ravi Rampaul in his next over to finish with figures of 2.2-0-2-4. There was ironic cheering from the crowd when West Indies reached 50 in the 13th over. It was that kind of a night for the defending champion.