England beat defending champions West Indies in their opening game of the Twenty20 World Cup on Saturday by six wickets, while Australia beat South Africa in a tense, low-scoring game.
Leg spinner Adil Rashid picked up the best T20 numbers of his career with 4-2 when favorites England started the Super 12 phase by bowling West Indies by just 55 points in a rematch of the 2016 final.
Chris Gayle, 13, was the only West Indies batter to hit double digits when Moeen beat Ali and Tymal Mills both twice before Rashid closed the innings with the last four wickets.
England pursued a lean goal hard, but Jos Buttler (24) and skipper Eoin Morgan (7) led the team in Dubai in 8.2 overs across the finish line.
“We know we have five or six bowlers there, match winners,” said Rashid when asked about the places in the United Arab Emirates that help the nuts.
“Anyone can come and get wickets on any day. For us it’s a bowling thing, not just weirdos or whatever. “
West Indies avoided their worst T20 total 45 against the same opposition in 2019.
“It was unacceptable, we accept that. We just have to throw games like that away sometimes,” said West Indies captain Kieron Pollard.
“For us it’s all about finding our straps. Obviously we play a lot of cricket all over the world and this is not the first time something like this has happened.”
The two teams met five years after they met in the 2016 final in Calcutta, when Carlos Brathwaite met Ben Stokes in the last over with four sixes in a row.
But with the overwhelming performance on Saturday, England warned their rivals in the seventh edition of the T20 flagship event.
– Stoinis holds Australia tight –
They lead Group 1 along with Australia, which South Africa beat with five wickets thanks to an unbeaten 40-run stand by Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade.
The story goes on
Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood took on 2-19 to limit South Africa to 118-9 after the Aussies decided to bowl in Abu Dhabi first.
Number four Aiden Markram played a lone hand with 40 out of 36 deliveries before falling to Mitchell Starc.
Australia got into trouble 81-5 after Steve Smith, who scored 35, and Glenn Maxwell, who scored 18, left.
But Stoinis hit 24 of 16 balls, assisted by the left-handed Wade, who made 15. Stoinis reached the winning line and secured victory for Australia with two balls.
“The most important thing for me was to be as calm as possible and it’s pretty tough for a Greek Australian,” said Stoinis.
“You’ve seen a bit of emotion come out towards the end, but the main thing is that Wadey and I were just communicating, trying to figure out who would blow everyone, make a plan, and then keep calm.”
South Africa captain Temba Bavuma said his team should have had at least 150 players on defense.
“It was definitely not a par score – we really didn’t do well, except for Aiden,” he said.
“From a hitting point of view, we know we could have done a lot differently and will try to correct our mistakes in the next game.”
Bangladesh and Sri Lanka clash in Sharjah on Sunday, while India begins its campaign against old rival Pakistan in Dubai.
India, which won the T20 top prize in 2007 but hasn’t won a world title since the 2013 Champions Trophy, has beaten Pakistan in all of its 12 games in the T20 and 50-over World Championships.
mw / dj