World Cup 2019: Root century steers formidable England to win over Windies

Joe Root scored a century as England chased down West Indies' target of 213 to seal a eight-wicket win in Southampton.

Joe Root after notching up his second century in World Cup 2019.   -  Reuters Photo

After days of incessant rain, the Hampshire Bowl witnessed a bright and sunny Friday afternoon with England pulling off an eight-wicket win over West Indies. The host, which opted to bowl, restricted a rather formidable West Indies batting line-up to a below-par 212 — thanks to three wickets each by Jofra Archer and Mark Wood.

England comfortably chased the total in just 33.1 overs, with Joe Root slamming his second century in this edition of the tournament. The 28-year-old remained unbeaten on 100 off 94 balls to emerge as the top scorer (279 runs) in the tournament so far.

The victory helped England climb to the second spot in the table, but the day was marred by injuries to skipper Eoin Morgan and opener Jason Roy. Roy pulled a hamstring and Morgan left the field after suffering a back spasm.

Scorecard | As it happened

With the play rules suggesting that Roy could bat only at No.7, England had to rejig its opening order, with Root joining Jonny Bairstow at the top. The new pair, however, had no difficulty in adjusting to the conditions as they accumulated 95 for the opening stand.

That set the tone for England’s smooth sailing.

England was in control when Bairstow was caught by Carlos Brathwaite at third man off Shanon Gabriel for 45. Then Root stitched another 104-run partnership with Chris Woakes (40 off 54 balls). When Gabriel removed Woakes, England was just 14 away from the target. Root and Ben Stokes (10 not out) then took the host over the line.

In Nottingham last week, Root had toyed with the Pakistan bowlers, hammering 105, and here again he played a flawless knock. With Root in charge, the target never looked challenging for England as Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas failed to make any early impact.

Jofra Archer finished with figures of 3 for 30 from nine overs.   -  Getty Images

 

The Caribbean side, which now has three points from four games, made three changes to its playing XI -- bringing in Evin Lewis, Andre Russell and Gabriel -- but the move hardly made any difference.

Earlier in the day, the West Indies suffered a batting collapse, losing three wickets for 55 runs. Woakes dismissed Lewis for two, before Wood dropped opener Chris Gayle. The batsman, however, failed to make the most of his fortune, falling for 36 after handing a catch to Bairstow off Liam Plunkett.

Read: Root blossoms, from school fields to World Cup stage

Some sensible batting by young Nicholas Pooran — who played a gritty knock of 63 — and Shimron Hetmyer — 39 off 48 deliveries — helped the West Indies to cross the 200-run mark. The two added 89 runs for the fourth wicket, but the West Indies could never really break free.

Pooran was caught by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler off Archer, who also packed off Brathwaite and Sheldon Cottrell, before Wood — who cleared the fitness test just ahead of the game — bowled Gabriel to end the innings in the 45th over.