SOUTHAMPTON, England – Barbadian fast-bowling sensation Jofra Archer sparkled for England but West Indies fluffed their lines in an ordinary performance, as they slumped to a chastening eight-wicket defeat today, to suffer another blow to their top four chances at the World Cup.
Sent in at the Rose Bowl in a highly anticipated encounter, West Indies looked in decent shape at 54 for one in the 13th over but crumbled for 212 in the 45th over, despite a composed top score of 63 from rookie Nicholas Pooran.
Fellow left-hander Shimron Hetmyer chipped in with 39 and veteran opener Chris Gayle got 36 but no other batsman showed the enterprise and discipline required to get West Indies up to a competitive score.
They were blown away by the hostile Archer who lived up to his high billing by taking three for 30 from eight overs, returning to haunt some of his former teammates, with whom he played six years ago as a member of the Windies Under-19 side.
Fellow speedster Mark Wood claimed three for 18 while Joe Root picked up two for 27, as West Indies lost their last seven wickets for 68 runs after they were well-placed on 144 for three in the 30th over.
In reply, England made light work of the modest target to get home in the 34th over, with Root unbeaten on exactly 100 – his second hundred of the World Cup and 16th of his career.
Opening partner Jonny Bairstow struck 45 from 46 deliveries while Chris Woakes, promoted to number three, stroked 40 off 54 balls, cashing in on a Windies attack lacking its usual verve on a flat deck.
Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, on his World Cup debut, took the two wickets to fall in his seven-over spell that cost 49 runs.
West Indies now have just one win in four matches after beating Pakistan in their opener in Nottingham, and lie sixth in the 10-team standings on three points, while England moved into second spot on six points with their third victory.
Needing a strong start, the Windies got anything but when out-of-form left-handed opener Evin Lewis played around a full length delivery from seamer Chris Woakes in the third over and had his stumps rattled for two with four runs on the board.
Gayle then dominated a 50-run stand with Shai Hope (11) crunching five fours and a six in a 41-ball knock to help weather the early new ball pace barrage from Archer.
Dropped on 15 in the seventh over at third man off Woakes, Gayle made little of the reprieve, holing out to deep mid-wicket in the 13th over off pacer Liam Plunkett.
And West Indies were in deeper trouble in the next over, when Hope was hit in front and given out lbw courtesy of DRS, ending his 30-ball toil.
Labouring at 55 for three, Pooran and Hetmyer came to their side’s rescue in a sensible 89-run, fourth wicket stand which repaired the innings.
Pooran faced 78 balls and counted three fours and a six while Hetmyer struck four fours in a 48-ball knock, the pair pushing West Indies up to 118 without further loss at the halfway stage of the innings.
Root’s introduction broke the stand when he claimed Hetmyer caught and bowled in his second over, and captain Jason Holder lasted 10 balls for his nine before falling in identical fashion in the Test captain’s next over.
At 156 for five at the end of the 32nd over, West Indies needed the injury-plagued Andre Russell to hang around, especially after being dropped on three by Woakes in the deep off leg-spinner Adil Rashid.
Instead, he smashed a pair of sixes in a 16-ball 21, adding 32 for the sixth wicket with Pooran before irresponsibly top-edging a heave at a short one from Wood, and skying to Woakes at mid-wicket in the 37th over.
Archer found himself on a hat-trick when he got Pooran to glove a lifter behind in the 40th over before trapping Sheldon Cottrell lbw next ball but Oshane Thomas blocked the crucial delivery.
Any hopes of a comeback quickly faded when Root put on a dashing 95 for the first wicket with Bairstow, before adding a further 104 for the second wicket with Woakes.
Asked to open in the absence of Jason Roy who was injured while fielding, Root stroked 11 fours in a 94-ball knock, reaching triple figures in the penultimate over of the innings.
England’s only casualties were Bairstow who upper-cut Gabriel to Carlos Brathwaite at third man in the 15th over and Woakes, who top-edged a pull to substitute Fabien Allen at long leg in the 32nd over, with just 14 required for victory. (CMC)