Lazy Gayle, Limp England and the Roaring Bear

Paul Howarth

West Indies won this rather pointless T20 by 21 runs.

England won the toss and elected to insert Windies. Six overs later, they might have been regretting that decision as the tourists had raced to 72. Universe Boss Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis taking Willey (tee hee), Root (ho ho), Raisin CurranT and Jordan to task.

Gayle ran himself out in a display of torpor unmatched since Absolutely's brilliant sketch: Slob Squad – Nobody Move. He set off for a comfortable single, stopped, ambled away again, decelerated, and was out by a foot. Classic Gayle.

Lewis was fluent and occasionally violent, reaching a well-earned 50 at a strike rate around 200, and it was only when Liam Plunkett came on that he succumbed, caught by Joe Root at mid-off. Plunkett and Rashid, easily England's best white-ball bowlers over the last two years, dragged it back brilliantly in the middle overs. Plunkett picked up three wickets, troubling all the batters with his pace and steep bounce, and Rashid bamboozled most with his googly. Plunkett on the Ashes plane?

Rashid scooped two in his final over to take top-bowler honours, prompting the most animated Bear this correspondent's ever seen to crash into the studio and roar in the ball-by-baller's face. Graceless, Bear, graceless.

Rovman Powell scored 28 useful runs as the overs ran out and, after a short break for heavy rain, Windies finished on 176-9. Thrillingly poised.

Kevin Pietersen reckons Jason Roy should be batting at 6 for England in Tests. Back in the real world, Roy slapped the first ball of the innings to point. Jerome Taylor the bowler, half-centurion Evin Lewis the catcher. Alex Hales played a mini-classic (TM Will Cockerell), smashing 43 off 17 and laying the foundation for what might have been a comfortable chase. Root and Morgan were both out tamely, however, Morgan in particular mesmerised by Narine.

While gimlet-eyed beauty Jos Buttler and Yogi Bairstow were together, England still had the game in their palms. But then Jos – as he does too often – got out having got in, skewing Kesrick Williams to Kieron Powell for an insufficient 30.

Rashid and Willey came and went before Yogi spooned one up, caught (a) in about three minds and (b) by sub Mohammad off Brathwaite's bowling.

There was a late, flatter-to-decieve flurry from Plunkers and Jordan but the latter was caught at wide long-on off Williams. Captain Brathwaite bowled Plunkers to wrap the game up and the West Indies had their deserved win.

Looking forward to the ODI series – and like a man squeezing himself into a suitcase – I can hardly contain myself.

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