NORTH SOUND, Antigua (AP) After Eoin Morgan’s latest century, England squeezed the life out of the West Indies to win the opening one-day international of their cricket series by 45 runs on Friday.
Morgan’s 10th ODI hundred anchored England to a competitive 296-6 after being sent in to bat.
The West Indies had to pull off its second highest run chase to win, and it was too much. The home side slumped to 39-3, then spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, after a shaky start, drip fed runs. Halfway through the chase, West Indies’ required run rate was at 8 an over and it was ultimately bowled for 251 in the 48th over.
Article continues below ...
The second match of three is on Sunday at the same Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
Morgan became the first England captain to score five ODI centuries, surpassing Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook. He came in after Joe Root was bowled for 4 and England was at 29-2 in the eighth over, and he stayed in until he was run out in the final over for 107.
He made the home side pay for dropping him on 4 and 69.
Morgan hit 10 boundaries, and his second six, over deep midwicket, brought up his second century in three ODIs. It took him 113 balls. He faced three more balls when Carlos Brathwaite, the bowler who missed the wicket on 4, pounced on his follow through and caught Morgan stranded.
Morgan enjoyed significant partnerships with Sam Billings (42) for the third wicket, with Ben Stokes (55) for the fifth, and with Ali (31 not out) for the sixth.
Stokes suffered at the hands of the West Indies the last time they met, in the World Twenty20 final a year ago in Kolkata, where he conceded four sixes to Brathwaite in the final over and West Indies won.
The reunion was an anticlimax. Stokes the batsman mustered only seven runs off 10 deliveries by Brathwaite, and didn’t bowl. He wasn’t needed.
The West Indies openers began well but it all unraveled from the 10th over, when Evin Lewis hit fast bowler Chris Woakes straight to a man on the midwicket fence. In the next over, Kieran Powell edged to point on 1 in his first ODI in three years, and in the over after that, Kraigg Brathwaite was caught in two minds, and sent a half-hearted pull to mid-on. The West Indies was 39-3 and Woakes was 2-10 off four overs.
Ali and Rashid then turned the screws.
Although they took only one wicket between them, they were responsible for the rising desperation in the home side’s ranks.
Jason Mohammed scored a team-high 72 before he was run out by a nifty kick from Steven Finn, but the run rate rose past 9 and 10 while he was in.
Woakes and fellow fast bowler Liam Plunkett benefited with four wickets each.