At least it didn’t rain! That seems like a headline right now, and perhaps it is a fitting for this match. It wasn’t much of a match, but at least it didn’t rain. Oh, it had its moments, what with Andre Russell hitting a couple of 6s then hurting himself in the process. England’s bowling was pretty good. Their batting was professional chasing a low total. West Indies did well to fight back as hard as they did. But in the end all of that fight was just to save some of their net run rate as the match never looked in any real doubt and it was ultimately a boring one-sided affair.
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Five Things We Learned:
(1) Sorry, West Indies, but you’re not semi-final material
Early in the tournament West Indies looked like being champions but they have now well and truly come crashing down to earth. While their loss to Australia was disappointing, they could easily have won that match, but not this time. This time it was very one-sided. I wonder how they would have gone against South Africa had rain not interfered. Based on how this match went, it looks like South Africa would have won. We may never know.
(2) England are the real deal
They didn’t even get past second gear here. They took some early wickets but then let West Indies off the hook but that didn’t matter. They did well in the death overs but that didn’t matter either. They had an injury to one of their openers so he had to bat at 7 but that didn’t matter. They put their normal number 9 in at number 3 but that didn’t matter. They didn’t even play properly but still won easily. It was like a child playing with her food. While the trophy is not yet guaranteed, they are certainly in with a real chance.
(3) Six fast bowlers doesn’t help you when you’re bowled out for 212
It was one of the most important tosses of the World Cup, what with both teams primed for chasing, and England won it, and West Indies had no Plan B. They went in with 6 terrifying fast bowlers but defending such a low total it never really mattered. They still used Chris Gayle as the 7th bowler to bowl some spin. Maybe this is the match where they needed Ashley Nurse. It’s hard to know what to do.
(4) That vital 7th bowler Joe Root
Few think of Joe Root as a bowler. It doesn’t have “all rounder” next to his name. Yet there he was, 7th bowler used, bowling 5 overs, and getting rid of the vital middle order pair of Hetmeyer and Holder. He only conceded 27 runs and was one of the better bowlers. Not the best bowler, though. That title fell to Jofra Archer. West Indies used 7 bowlers too, but Chris Gayle was nowhere near as effective as Joe Root.
(5) Jofra Archer shouldn’t be playing for England
There are so many reasons why the young fast bowler shouldn’t be playing for England. To start with, he wasn’t in the preliminary squad, and came in as a replacement after the batsman Alex Hales was arbitrarily banned for recreational drug use. Not only that but he hadn’t passed the eligibility requirements – except that they changed them just in time for this World Cup. He played junior cricket for West Indies. He is West Indian. He should be playing for them. But here he was rubbing salt into the wound, opening the bowling and taking 3 for 30. He wasn’t even in England’s best XI until the tournament started. He was meant to be holding the drinks. Now suddenly he’s a vital part of the squad and is keeping Moeen Ali out. If England were favourites before Archer joined the squad, now they are double favourites. It feels like they should give him to West Indies just to be good sports, but even that wouldn’t have changed the result. England just have everything going right for them.