Eoin Morgan smashed a record making century and seamers Chris Woakes and Liam Plunkett shared eight wickets between them to set up an impressive 45 run win for England in the 1st ODI at the North Sound Stadium. West Indies, who started off as the underdogs, looked promising in patches during the contest but eventually fell flat.
England was asked to bat first on a sluggish wicket. It was a smart decision by Windies skipper Jason Holder with the rain in the air. Run making initially looked bit tough but the visitors got into the rhythm towards the end to post a challenging total.
Shannon Gabriel gave a tough time with the new ball, snapping two big wickets before the end of the first ten overs. Sam Billings and Jason Roy made up for the opening pair for England but the duo could not last long together as Roy fell lbw to Shannon Gabriel for 13. The giant fast bowler struck in a short while again with the important wicket of Joe Root who had his timber broken for 4 runs. These two key top order wickets made the contest looks exciting at the start.
Morgan and Billings led the slow recovery for England. Runs didn’t come easy, especially for Morgan. While Billings ensured he looked neat, Morgan took 7 balls to get off the mark and 33 balls to reach double figures.
The pair put up 65 for the third wicket before left-arm spinner Ashley Nurse snapped the partnership with the wicket of Billings who was caught by Brathwaite just after reaching his fifty. West Indies tasted another success as Jonathan Carter snapped up a catch at slip to get rid of Jos Buttler. But, while all this happened, Morgan had begun to pick up the pace as his half-century approached and combined with Ben Stokes to push the hosts to the corner. Together the duo stitched up 110 runs to set in the motion for the final total of 296 for 6.
Morgan brought up his tenth ODI hundred and his fifth century as captain, a new record for an England skipper surpassing the four made by Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook. His support, Stokes, also contributed 55 with the bat in the stand. The finishing touch was added by the cameo of Moeen Ali who cracked up a 22 ball 31 run knock towards the end of the innings.
West Indies, in reply, experienced a top order failure that led to a poor start before being kept afloat in the game by a solid half-century from Jason Mohammad and Jonathan Carter. Openers Kraigg Brathwaite and Evin Lewis put up a cautious 36-run opening stand before England gave a double blow to the hosts. Chris Woakes ended the opening stand with the wicket of Evin Lewis while Liam Plunkett struck in his first over to see off Kieran Powell. Woakes returned in his next over and claimed his second when Kraigg Brathwaite misjudged a pull and handed a catch to Adil Rashid at mid-on. Some stability was eventually found when Jason Mohammed and Carter came together for 82-run stand that kept the West Indies hopes alive in the chase.
Plunkett and Woakes swung back to action again to bring back their team into action. West Indies were finally thrown out of the game when Roy’s brilliant diving catch removed Carter for 52 and Steven Finn’s footwork helped run out Mohammed at the bowler’s end. Mohammad’s departure ended the story as Woakes tightened the noose around West Indies.
England: 286/6 (Eoin Morgan 107, Ben Stokes 55; Ashley Nurse 2/57)
West Indies: 251 all out (Jason Mohammad 72; Liam Plunkett 4/40)
Man of the Match: Eoin Morgan