England fans, no matter how strong of a position England find themselves in, can never be assured that their team will finish on top. Yesterday’s result was particularly painful to the England team. This was a match that England needed to win, not only to put them 1-0 up in the ODI series, but to help them put the abysmal Australian tour behind them. It was always going to be difficult, but there was never going to be an easier chance than the one they were presented with. A weakened West Indies side with injuries to Gayle and Samuels, a number of new players in the side who didn’t play major roles in the defeat to the Aussies and also the only two players whose reputation had been enhanced during the Ashes – Broad and Stokes. On paper, England looked to be in a strong position.
England started exceptionally well. Broad, who had taken on the captaincy for the first time in ODI cricket, employed the right tactics, bowling the spin of Joe Root, James Tredwell and debutant Moeen Ali early in the innings to the Windies top order. England dominated the first 30 overs with tight lines, sharp fielding and a high intensity. It all made for an impressive picture. However, it wasn’t to last. The all important death overs, where the game is won or lost, were England’s undoing. As Bravo and Sammy started swinging the pendulum, England couldn’t find an answer. Plans were telegraphed by field placings and there was little variation allowing Bravo and Sammy to settle, able to choose their hitting areas.