England began their bid to win the t20 World Cup in the UAE in sensational style by smashing reigning champions West Indies in Dubai by six wickets.
Their victory margin tells just half the story as the West Indies limped to 55 all out. Thanks largely to a man of the match performance from Mooen Ali with two wickets, four wickets from Adil Rashid, two from Tymal Mills, and one each for Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan. All of the bowlers contributed to at least one dismissal in the 14.2 that were bowled in the innings.
With the bat, they were not as dominant and stuttered slightly, losing 4 wickets but in truth it was never in doubt as various contributions took the team over the line in just 8.2 overs.
Most promisingly for England was an unbeaten innings from their captain Eoin Morgan, who despite still being one of the finest captains in the world, has struggled with his batting form. He even went as far to suggest in the tournament build-up he would drop himself so as not to ‘‘stand in the way of his team”.
England are certainly one of the favourites to win the tournament, having been one of the best short format teams in the world since 2015. They are, however, without some of their most important players: Ben Stokes is nursing a finger injury and is currently taking a break from cricket as well as Jofra Archer and Sam Curran who are both recovering from long term injuries. Archer and Stokes were especially integral to the 2019 World Cup campaign, with performances of note in the dramatic final victory.
This was the opening match for England in group one, who are champions of the world in the 50 over format. T20, however, is just 20 overs. It’s an action-packed format, ideal for any potential new fans who prefer entertainment to the longer, more intricate forms of cricket.
This was not the only game that took place today as Australia scrapped past South Africa in the first game of Super 12s phase. South Africa were left to rue a lack of runs but their bowlers took regular wickets and bowled economically to give them a sniff of victory. It wasn’t to be though as Australia won in the final over of the match.
There were worries that the pitches in UAE would be too challenging to bat on and impact on the enjoyment but the games today, especially the first one, should ease those concerns.
England’s next game is on the 27th of October against Bangladesh. If the first performance is anything to go by then England will be a team to watch throughout the tournament.