England 213 for 2 (Root 100*, Bairstow 45) beat Windies 212 (Pooran 63, Wood 3-18, Archer 3-30) by eight wickets
Much of the time before this match was spent gazing the cloudy Southampton sky in fears of yet another rain-affected game, but thankfully the rain kept away. The West Indies were put into bat after England won the toss and elected to field first.
The Windies batsmen got off to a slow start, with Chris Woakes bowling a maiden in the first over against Chris Gayle. The first run of the match came through a wide from Jofra Archer. Lewis lost his wicket in the subsequent over when Mark Wood rattled the stumps with a fuller ball. Chris Gayle didn’t get off the mark until the 10th ball that he faced.
The much awaited Gayle versus Archer battle didn’t disappoint, with Archer bowling eight dot balls including one pacey bouncer to Chris Gayle, before the Universe Boss smashed three consecutive fours off Archer. Gayle went on to attack the English bowlers and became the all-time leading run scorer against England when he hit a six off Chris Woakes.
Chris Gayle and Shai Hope lost their wickets in the space of three balls. Gayle was dismissed by a Liam Plunkett short ball when he tried to put away one to the fence and was caught by Jonny Bairstow close to the boundary line. Shai Hope was given out leg before the wickets after England reviewed the umpires’ original decision.
Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer steadied the ship with a well-built 89 run partnership. Shimron Hetmyer lost his wicket, caught and bowled by Joe Root, after he top-edged a ball back to the bowler. The Windies Captain, Jason Holder lost his wicket in similar fashion in Root’s very next over after smashing him for a six from the previous delivery.
Andre Russell began to flex his muscles, hitting two sixes off Adil Rashid. Russell lost his wicket to a Mark Wood short ball soon after while trying to clear the fence.
Nicholas Pooran seemed to be the only batsman who could take the Windies to a decent score, but he too fell victim to Jofra Archer, who picked his first wicket of the match. He was caught behind by Jos Buttler who called for a review and was successful. The Windies were struggling at 202/7 when Pooran was dismissed. Jofra Archer struck once again with the very next ball, dismissing Sheldon Cottrell for a duck.
The English bowlers made quick work of the remaining batsmen, while Archer picked his 3rd wicket of the match, dismissing Carlos Brathwaite who was caught behind off an edge, by Buttler. The last wicket to fall was Shannon Gabriel who was playing his first match of the campaign.
Injuries to Jason Roy and captain Eoin Morgan in the first innings meant they couldn’t bat in their usual batting positions, forcing Joe Root to open the innings. However, England still managed a positive start, thanks to Root and Jonny Bairstow’s 95 run partnership.
England were peeling away, even after the first wicket, which came through Shanon Gabriel. England chose to send in Chris Woakes at three in be absence of Morgan and Roy. The all-rounder stepped up to the occasion, pairing up with Root to build a 100-run partnership, taking England to touching distance of the target. Gabriel picked up his second wicket, but the match was virtually over by then, with Ben Stokes adding the final touches in what was an easy chase for England. For the West Indies, Pooran was the sole shining light on what was a forgettable day. They will look to comeback stronger when they face Bangladesh in their next game in the World Cup, on June 23.