Nicholas Pooran was the only relief for the decimated West Indian batting unit as he scored his maiden ODI fifty before his team collapsed for a paltry 212 in the ICC World Cup 2019 encounter between West Indies and Australia at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.
Young England pacer Jofra Archer was the star of the first innings as he bowled brilliantly for his 3/30. With his tight length and steep bounce, the Barbados-born pacer had the Windies dancing on their feet. The other bowlers were also in their prime as they supported Archer aptly. Mark Wood (3/18), Chris Woakes (1/16), Liam Plunkket (1/30) delivered the goods for the hosts as they bundled the team from the Carribeans in just 44.4 overs.
Had it not been for some sensible batting by young Pooran (63) and Shimron Hetmyer (39), who added 89 runs for the fourth wicket, the West Indies would have struggled to cross the 200-run mark. The ball was hurrying on to the batsmen and whether it was a Shai Hope (11) or big-hitting Gayle, the Caribbeans found the going tough as timing the ball was a challenge. They had already lost Evin Lewis (0), bowled by Woakes off a yorker.
Gayle, out of frustration, pulled one from Woakes, just managed an edge but escaped as Wood grassed a sitter. The marauding batter did hit a few big shots, including a massive straight six off Woakes, but did not last long, edging one straight to Jonny Bairstow off Plunkett. Hope’s torturous stay was ended by Wood when he had him trapped after reviewing the umpire’s not out decision. Pooran and Hetmyer then chose restrain over flamboyance, steading the innings.
The duo did all the hard work, working the ball around to keep the scoreboard going in their partnership, which got broken when Joe Root had Hetmyer caught off his own bowling. The part-time off-spinner struck in his next over too, dismissing the rival captain Jason Holder (9) in similar fashion. In came Russell and the ball was soon flying into the stands. He twice dispatched leg-spinner Adil Rashid into the crowd after being dropped but was dismissed, attempting another big shot off Wood.
(With inputs from PTI)