9th over: West Indies 42-6 (Pollard 2; Russell 0) Mills is looking tasty, a solid figures, shirt untucked, sprints in Mark Wood style, but with arms chicken-wing style, before letting fly. Pooran has a swing and miss but makes contact with his fifth ball – but not the sort he’d like. Russell has a wild swing at his first ball and luckily for the (already dismal) West Indies scorecard fails to make contact. A couple of wides – but a wicket more than evens the ledger.
“Gayle’s gone, effectively knocking the wind out of West Indies’ sails. Pardon the pun. Hetmyer was looking good but was too impetuous,” writes Column Fordham.
Yes, I fancy Hetmyer for a few this tournament too.
“England have started very well. Fielding excellent, Moeen bowling well, ably supported by Woakes and Mills.”
WICKET! Pooran c Buttler b Mills 1 (West Indies 42-6)
A slower ball, Pooran has a swing and tissues it to Buttler behind.
8th over: West Indies 37-5 (Pollard 0; Pooran 1) A third super catch by England who have shrugged on their invincibility cloaks today in the field. Bravo did have time to hit one exhilarating four off Jordan’s first ball before Morgan’s golden hand brings a wicket with his bowling change again.
WICKET! Bravo c Bairstow b Jordan 5 (West Indies 37-5)
Leans back and delivers a fat wide one from Jordan to backward point where Bairstow is crouching and ready.
7th over: West Indies 33-4 (Bravo 1; Pooran 1) Just two off Moeen’s over: he now has 2-17 off his four, thanks very much.
“Hi.” says John Starbuck. “Sending this just as Gayle loses it. I was going to ask, this is the first time we’ve really heard the drums in this tournament. How many are WI drummers, can you make out?
If they’re not Gayle’s special support claque, whose are they? And are there any Barmy Army performers?
That’s the thing about multi-international series, you can pick ‘n’ mix the entertainment.”
It’s tricky to tell – I’ll keep my eye out.
6th over: West Indies 31-4 (Bravo 0; Pooran o) Tymal Mills, looking nervous, full of deep breaths, has his first bowl of the tournament. Beats Gayle repeatedly, Gayle gets his blood up with a thrash over cover for four, then misreads the pace of the ball and miscues to Malan. End of the power play.
WICKET! Gayle c Malan b Mills 13 (West Indies 31-4)
Smasher of a catch by Dawid Malan, running backwards at midwicket and snatching the ball as it started to drop behind his head.
5th over: West Indies 27-3 (Bravo 0; Gayle 9) Dainty yet brutal from Hetmyer, dancing down to carve Moeen for two boundaries to mid wicket and extra cover. Then the wicket. West Indies shuffle the batting order to send in Bravo – panic or commonsense?
“Which is the correct response to seeing Chris Gayle at #3,” asks David Mooney. “* Chris Gayle is still playing!? * Of course Chris Gayle is still playing.”
WICKET! Hetmyer c Morgan b Moeen 9 (West Indies 27-3)
Heymyer jumps up and down in fury with himself after picking up Moeen Ali but sending him only as far as Eoin Morgan as mid-on
4th over: West Indies 19-2 (Hetmyer 1; Gayle 9) Gayle starts Woakes’s second over in wham-bam style: pushing him through the covers and cutting with Sunday Roast enthusiasm past Jason Roy. A couple of singles and suddenly Woakes has gone for ten.
Andrew Benton asks: “Wondering that as a dewy ball reduces control by the bowler, presumably it also increases variability for the batter – it won’t go where either of them expected, perhaps making for a more exciting game for the spectators? Or, maybe not.”
3rd over: West Indies 9-2 (Hetmyer 0; Gayle 0) Hetmyer eschews hat and helmet for blue hair as a replacement for Simmons, who won’t be writing that shot on his CV. A wicket maiden for Moeen full of variation.
WICKET! Simmons c Livingstone b Moeen 3 (West Indies 9-2)
With pin-point accuracy straight to deep midwicket where Livingstone gratefully accepts the offering.
2nd over: West Indies 9-1 (Simmonds 3; Gayle 0) Super bowling by Woakes who foxed Lewis with his slower ball. Enter Gayle, resplendent in black and blond dreadlocks. He deigns to run a single to pick up the strike, but can’t get Woakes away.
WICKET! Lewis c Moeen b Woakes 6 (West Indies 8-1)
A mis-chip brilliantly snaffled by Moeen running towards the rope and catching over his shoulder.
1st over: West Indies 7-0 (Simmonds 1; Lewis 6) Four dots, a single and a six! A couple of blobs to start before Simmonds guides Mo away to midwicket to get off the mark. Lewis pogos the last for six just to prove that West Indies really do hit more sixes than any other T20 side. The West Indies kit is lighter on the maroon than normal and heavier on the sunshine yellow.
The umpires: Dar and Erasmus
Lewis (helmet) and Symond (cap) saunter out and it looks like Moeen Ali will take the first over. The players and support staff take the knee on the pitch and around the boundary.
National anthem time and a very jaunty version of Rally Round the West Indies. Actually it’s not a bad version of GSTQ either. Jonny Bairstow by the far the most enthusiastic singer.
A reminder of the (tough) Group One teams: England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh. The top two will qualify for the semi-finals.
More dew talk: and some useful insight from Sam Curran (marooned in the studio because of his stress fracture) if you, like me, have never tried to send down a dewy ball in Dubai. “If the ball is wet it is going to take out reverse swing and also makes it difficult to bowl yorkers.”
Nasser Hussain is out in Dubai and looking very perky. ‘England are well placed but are without Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Sam Curran, which shows the depth England have. The challenges are conditions, because with the balance of the side England have gone with it would have been very difficult for the three spinners bowling with a wet ball and a bar of soap if they’d lost the toss.”
“West Indies bat very deep and are a phenomenal ball-hitting side. They are wonderful to watch. This is a game between two very strong batting sides, two vulnerable bowling sides.”
England: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wk), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Liam Livingstone, Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid, Tymal Mills
Wood and Curran were not available for selection
West Indies: Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Kieron Pollard (c), Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Akeal Hosein, Ravi Rampaul, Obed McCoy
England win the toss and will bowl!
thus avoiding the dew problems that have been muttered about darkly.
We hope to have teams and toss soon! Reports suggest that both Jordan and Mills could make the starting XI for England.
Australia beat South Africa by five wickets, with three balls to go in the first match of the tournament and one that felt like a bit of a warm-up for both teams. Back in the studio, Ian Ward, in fawn, has just reminded us that England v West Indies starts in 30 mins.
As Eoin Morgan licks his lips at the chance of joining MS Dhoni as the only captain to win both white-ball World Cups , while battling a death-spiral loss of form, Barney Ronay says, give him a break.
The action starts in Dubai at 3pm BST – to wet your whistle, there’s all sorts going on at Australia v South Africa in Abu Dhabi. Adam’s got it all nailed here:
Hello! So here we are on an autumnal English afternoon transported to a hot and steamy superstadium in Dubai. England’s T20 World Cup starts with a repeat of the 2016 final against West Indies. You remember the one – when at Eden Gardens Carlos Braithwaite rocketed Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes, the inevitability of each one doubling with ever strike, to snatch the trophy from under England’s noses.
There is no Stokes this time – though eleven of the same players will be on the field – offering players like Chris Woakes and Liam Livingstone a chance to step into his boots. No Brathwaite either – left dining on memories.
England start the tournament the No.1 ranked nation with West Indies down in the doldrums in ninth. But don’t believe a word of those damn statistics : on a good day West Indies can blast anyone out of the park. As Kieron Pollard put it, theirs is a “never say die attitude.”
England have won four of their last five matches, West Indies three, but England are yet to beat West Indies in a global T20 tournament. Game on!