Contrasting centuries by Jason Roy and Joe Root paced England to a comfortable six-wicket victory over the West Indies with their record one-day international run chase in a high-scoring opening game of a five-match series in Barbados on Wednesday night.
Set what looked a daunting target after Chris Gayle's 24th ODI hundred anchored the home side to 360-8, Roy blazed 123 off 85 balls at the top of the order while Root cruised to a comparatively sedate 102 off 97 deliveries to take help the tourists reach their target with eight balls to spare.
"The calm nature in which we came back with the ball was great," England skipper Eoin Morgan said after the game. "We did well in the last 10-15 overs – they were headed for 380-400. It felt like a 330 chase, and not 360 – that's how well we started the chase with Roy and Bairstow.”
“Joe and Roy, when they bat together, complement each other. The way they batted today proves that,” he said. “We just didn't have a great day in the field, and we need to hold our catches on this kind of a ground and wicket. Adil bowled well when he was asked. We are happy with where we are, and that's good with the World Cup in perspective."
"Credit to our batters, we did a remarkable job," Jason Holder, the Windies captain, said. "Gayle took his time and batted deep. He's always been a star for us, and it's great to see him play the way he's playing.”
Holder, however, was disappointed with the fielding effort. If Roy dropping Gayle had made England's task harder, Windies returned the favour by dropping both Roy and Root twice each.
"Didn't bowl as well as we'd like, and we simply didn't do well in the field,” Holder said. “Our energy and body language wasn't up to the mark, perhaps due to missed chances. The bowlers did create chances, but we didn't hold them – almost six-seven chances. If we hold onto those, we will definitely be better in the next game.”
SCORES IN BRIEF
WEST INDIES: 360 for 8 in 50 overs (Gayle 135, Campbell 30, Hope 64, Bravo 40, Nurse 25 not out; Woakes 2-59, Stokes 3-37, Rashid 3-74)
ENGLAND: 364 for 4 in 48.4 overs (Roy 123, Bairstow 34, Root 102, Morgan 65; Holder 2-63)
Result: England won by six wickets.
Player-of-the-match: Jason Roy