Man of the Match Jason Roy belted 123 to steer England to a remarkable victory over the West Indies in the first One Day International at Kensington Oval today, successfully chasing a target of 361. England scored 364 for four in 48.4 overs, their highest run chase in ODIs and the third-highest run chase in the history of ODI cricket.
Their victory stunned the West Indies who fielded poorly and dropped seven catches among which was their tormentor Roy who received four chances and Joe Root ( 102 ) who was put down twice. Roy batted for 123 minutes, faced 85 balls and struck 18 fours and three sixes.
He shared an opening partnership of 91 with Jonny Bairstow who was caught by wicketkeeper Shai Hope for 34 off captain Jason Holder after the two had got the England innings off to a blazing start. Root then joined Roy at the crease and the two posted 114 for the second wicket with the latter taking the Windies bowling apart.
England raced to 100 and posted 200 in 113 minutes as the West Indies bowlers toiled without success. Roy blasted 50 from 30 balls in 43 minutes and counted seven fours and one six, his century came in 95 minutes, from 65 balls and contained 13 fours and two sixes.
Eventually, Roy was caught by Darren Bravo off disappointing leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo at short third-man in the 27th over. By then England were well poised for victory at 205. Following the dismissal of Roy, captain Eoin Morgan came to the wicket and the carnage continued with the two senior players posting 116 runs for the third wicket.
Morgan hit a quick-fire 65 from 51 balls that contained four boundaries and three sixes. By this stage Root was firmly entrenched at the crease, his 50 from 54 balls came in 87 minutes with five fours and he reached a well-deserved century from 96 balls decorated with nine fours. He was dismissed shortly after reaching his century by the persevering Holder after facing 97 balls in his knock. Holder took 2 for 63 to be the best of the Windies bowlers. Thomas (1 for 72) was the other wicket-taker.
Earlier, returning opener Chris Gayle smashed 135 – his 24th ODI century – after being dropped by Roy at mid-off on nine off the bowling of Liam Plunkett. The hard-hitting left-hander shared a second wicket partnership of 131 with Shai Hope. He had started his innings very slowly against the England pacers and much of the earlier momentum came at the other end from fellow opener John Campbell on debut and Hope. But having found his touch Gayle exploded.
The big Jamaican struck 12 massive sixes and three boundaries during his innings, one of his sixes struck off fast bowler Plunkett landed in the Party Stand. He lifted off-spinner Moeen Ali over the Greenidge and Haynes Stand for another huge six. Gayle batted 229 minutes and faced 129 balls.
Hope who looked good for a century as well, scored a stylish 64 that contained seven fours and a massive straight six off Ali that sailed over the Media Centre. But he top-edged a delivery from Ben Stokes to third-man to curtail his innings much to the dismay of home fans.
Darren Bravo looked in good touch as he contributed a swift 40 and Campbell who was first out made 30. Shimron Hetmyer was guilty of seeming to want to hit every ball for a boundary and looked in form to make more than his eventual 20. Ashley Nurse gave the innings momentum at the end with a sizzling eight-ball 25 not out that included three sixes and a four. That innings seemed to be the finishing touch to a match-winning 360 for eight. But that belief would later prove to be far from reality.
All-rounder Ben Strokes was England’s most successful bowler with 3 wickets for 37 runs from eight overs while leg spinner Adil Rashid also took three wickets for 74 runs from 10 overs
The second ODI is on Friday.