NASSER HUSSAIN: Eoin Morgan showed his value to England with tactical masterclass in win over West Indies… and Adil Rashid will prove his trump card at T20 World Cup
It was a near-perfect start for England against West Indies. They were playing the holders and a side many expect to make a big impression, but Eoin Morgan’s side put in an outstanding performance.
Losing four wickets in reaching the meagre 56 they needed for victory was the only thing that stopped it being 10 out of 10.
There has been talk about Morgan’s position after a lean run of form, not least from the captain himself, but he showed his immense value to England with a tactical masterclass.
Eoin Morgan (right) managed his bowlers brilliantly as England skittled the West Indies
The England captain (right) then steadied the ship with the bat to see his team home
It was a day for his belief in using data to be fully vindicated. Morgan saw four left-handers in West Indies’ top six and realised Moeen Ali would be a huge threat, so he bowled him early on.
He held back Tymal Mills for Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell, then made sure the ball wasn’t pitched up to them.
And then, when Mills was taken out of the attack with those two still in, Morgan turned to Adil Rashid to attack the right-handers and he dismissed them both.
Adil Rashid (left) took four wickets in 2.2 overs as England bowled out the Windies for 55
Moeen Ali took two wickets for just 17 runs, his best bowling figures in international cricket
Rashid continues to go from strength to strength. He bowls very few poor deliveries these days and has lots of variations.
The ball out the front of his hand to dismiss Russell completely bamboozled the batter. On these pitches, Rashid will prove a trump card for Morgan.
It was the perfect demonstration of the match-ups you hear captains talking about in T20 these days and Morgan got every one of them spot-on.
The captain can make all the right moves but the bowlers have to deliver and I was so pleased Mills did well on his return.
Tymal Mills celebrates taking the wicket of Nicholas Pooran, his second of the match
Mills (centre) provides England with genuine pace in the absence of the injured Jofra Archer
I said last week he had to play in the absence of Jofra Archer and, with Mark Wood missing out with an ankle injury, Mills was the go-to man for pace and that heavy length into the pitch.
His slower-ball variations are so hard to play, too.
West Indies were naive. They are much better than they showed on Saturday. They didn’t use their thought processes at all.
They felt they could bully the ball for six every other delivery but Dubai is a large ground and they were trying to hit out while England were defending those big boundaries.
Chris Gayle was the only West Indian batter to reach double-digit as he scored 13 runs
It wasn’t a day for smashing it around.
We have seen some low-scoring matches so far and teams may have to reassess their plans, just as in the last 50-over World Cup in England, and knock the ball around.
At times, 150 will be enough in this World Cup.
I could understand England pushing Dawid Malan down the order to try to win as quickly as possible.
Kieron Pollard admitted the West Indies’ performance against England was ‘unacceptable’
I was part of an England team who went out of a World Cup on net run-rate, so if anything I might have gone even harder than Morgan did.
As it was, England won in 8.2 overs, so you can’t argue with that and on these pitches England may well need Malan to be the anchor man to make 70 off 60 balls in future games.
They are in good shape as they head to Abu Dhabi to face Bangladesh on what will be another slow surface that should suit their opponents.