England’s bowlers keep West Indies within reach

England were left chasing 181 to beat the West Indies after some outstanding death bowling kept the target within reach in their first Super 8 match at the T20 World Cup.

Amid predictions of a batting bonanza in St Lucia – home to the friendliest pitch in the competition and a tournament record score of 218 by the Windies just 48 hours earlier – the English attack kept things within reach as the hosts posted 180 for four.

It could easily have been more were it not for two outstanding efforts from Jofra Archer and Adil Rashid, who sent down the critical 16th and 17th overs with the game teetering in the balance and came away in credit.

T20 Cricket WCup England West Indies
England players celebrate the dismissal of West Indies’ Andre Russell (Ramon Espinosa/AP)

They each took a crucial wicket and conceded just six runs between them, Archer nicking off dangerman Nicholas Pooran for 36 with a slower ball and Rashid taking care of power-hitter Andre Russell before he had a chance to get going.

England lacked a cutting edge at times, not taking their first wicket until the 12th over, but strung together an admirable sequence of dot balls against a West Indies side who may regret not taking more risks with wickets in hand through the middle of their innings.

Rashid was exemplary, taking one for 21 in four straight overs, and Archer showed skill and precision as he allowed a respectable 34 despite bowling all of his spell during the pressure points at the start and end.

The West Indies, who failed to score off exactly half of the legal deliveries in the powerplay, had skipper Rovman Powell to thank for dispatching five sixes in his 17-ball 36.

Three of those came in four deliveries from Liam Livingstone, who could not find a way to protect the straight boundary but did get some revenge when Powell sliced his final ball to short third man.

Johnson Charles top-scored with 38 but his was a curious knock, occupying 34 balls and almost an hour of the innings. It may even have been a relief for his side when he hacked Moeen Ali to Harry Brook at long-on.

Opening partner Brandon King was looking more dangerous but he was forced to retire hurt just as he was finding his hitting range.