Windies Lose First ODI

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Captain Eoin Morgan struck his 10th One-Day International hundred as England recovered from a stuttering start to post a challenging 296 for six off their 50 overs, in the opening game of the three-match series against West Indies in Antigua & Barbuda on Friday.
Sent in, the tourists slumped to 29 for two in the eighth over after speedster Shannon Gabriel struck twice early on but the left-handed Morgan came to his side’s rescue with a superb 107 off 116 deliveries.
All-rounder Ben Stokes hit 55 and opener Sam Billings gathered 52, while Moeen Ali came at the end to produce a cameo unbeaten 31 from 22 balls.
Off-spinner Ashley Nurse (2-57) and the right-arm Gabriel (2-58) picked up two wickets apiece.
Following a half-hour delayed start because of wet run-ups and then rain, England found themselves stunned by the loss of Jason Roy (13) and Joe Root (4).
Roy, dropped by captain Jason Holder off a caught and bowled chance in the fifth over, perished in the following over – lbw on the back foot to one from Gabriel which kept low.
Gabriel then got the prized wicket of Root, bowling the right-hander with a quick delivery which jagged back and found the batsman rooted to the crease.
However, Morgan arrived to steady the innings, anchoring three partnerships which ensured England reached the fourth highest total at the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium.
He put on 67 for the third wicket with Billings, 110 for the fifth wicket with Stokes before adding a further 53 with Moeen Ali for the sixth wicket.
Morgan raised his 32nd ODI half-century off 67 balls in the 31st over and required another 45 deliveries to reach three figures, clearing the ropes at mid-wicket with seamer Carlos Brathwaite to emphatically bring up the landmark in the 48th over.
He eventually perished off the third delivery of the final over, run out after backing up too far.
The West Indies started their chase cautiously with Evin Lewis and Kraigg Braithwaite putting on 36 for the first wicket. 36-1 in the 10th over soon became 39-3 in the 12th over with Lewis pulling Woakes to Billings, Powell falling to a leading edge off Plunkett and Braithwaite looping a poorly executed pull to mid-on off Woakes.
Shai Hope arrived at the crease and tried to consolidate with 31 off 38 balls. Hope’s dismissal in the 25th over slashing a wide delivery to backward point brought Jason Mohammed and Jonathan Carter together. The pair put on 82 runs with Mohammed making his first ODI 50 and Carter striking an attacking 52 off 47 balls giving the West Indies fans brief hope. Carter fell to a tremendous diving catch from Roy off the bowling of Plunkett to dent the West Indies chase.
Mohammed was run out by Finn in the 42nd over attempting a quick single and that effectively ended the West Indies resistance. Ashley Nurse and Davendra Bishoo struck some lusty blows at the end with Nurse departing lbw to Woakes for a 15 ball 21 with Bishoo remaining not out on 12 off 6 deliveries. Woakes and Plunkett were, however, too much for the West Indies lower order and the West Indies were finally dismissed in the 48th over for 251.
England’s Eoin Morgan was named man of the match. The second match of the three-match series will be played at The Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium where another England victory would see them take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

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