Adil Rashid took four wickets for just two runs while there was a heartwarming return to international duty for Tymal Mills as England got their T20 World Cup campaign under way by blowing away the West Indies for just 55.
This was a scarcely believable start to the tournament for England in their quest to hold both World Cup trophies concurrently, with faultless fielding matched by each bowler probing away against an ill-disciplined Windies unit.
Mills marked his first match in an England shirt with two for 17 – including the crucial wicket of Chris Gayle, top-scorer with 13 and the only Windies batter to reach double figures – while Rashid closed the show in style.
So clinical 👏
West Indies 5⃣5⃣ all out
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) October 23, 2021
Rashid did not enter the fray until the Windies were six down but struck with his very first delivery, bowling Andre Russell with a beauty, before taking another three wickets as the Windies subsided to the third lowest score in the tournament’s history.
This was a rematch of the 2016 final between the sides and the Windies are going to need an even more remarkable fightback than the one Carlos Brathwaite conjured to ensure the defence of their title does not start with a loss.
England kept faith with Dawid Malan while both all-rounders Liam Livingstone and Moen Ali were selected, with Mills included alongside Woakes and Chris Jordan as Mark Wood missed out because of an ankle niggle.
After the players took the knee – the first time England have done so since last summer – Moeen was summoned to open the bowling, with Evin Lewis striking an early blow with a towering straight six.
Attempting to repeat the trick in the next over, he was deceived by a 69.6mph slower ball from Chris Woakes and Moeen took a superb catch over his shoulder running back from mid-on.
Moeen was soon in the wickets column himself after Lendl Simmons hacked to Livingstone in the deep.
Gayle ominously got under way by surgically finding the gap through cover before slashing past backward point off Woakes, but England’s decision to reward Moeen with a third over in the powerplay paid off handsomely when Shimron Hetmyer miscued a pull to mid-on.
Mills was in business in his first over, the last of the powerplay, as Gayle’s late pull found a backpedalling Malan at midwicket.
— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) October 23, 2021
Moeen’s figures of two for 17 were his best in T20s for England and the one-way traffic continued as Dwayne Bravo cut Jordan low to Jonny Bairstow, close in at backward point, to just about get both hands underneath the ball.
Mills’ radar was slightly off as he conceded three wides in his second over, which he nevertheless ended strongly as Nicholas Pooran’s brief but torturous stay was ended after nicking off for one from nine balls. That left the Windies teetering on 42 for six.
Rashid struck with his first delivery of the tournament, castling Russell through the gate for a two-ball duck with one that skidded in, beating a tentative defensive prod from the big-hitting all-rounder.
The end came swiftly, Rashid taking the last three wickets to finish with astonishing figures of four for two as the Windies were all out in 14.2 overs.