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West Indies vs England: Russell Helped WI Take an Early Lead in the Series

In the T20I series against England, West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell dazzled in his comeback game to give the hosts a 1-0 series lead. With 11 balls remaining in Barbados, West Indies easily defeated the mark set by England thanks to Russell’s impressive performance with the bat and ball.

England’s Incredible Beginning

England got off to a fantastic start after being selected to bat first, ripping off 77 runs in the powerplay. Phil Salt got things going early, hitting three fours in the opening over. In the penultimate over of the powerplay, Jos Buttler paddled one fine for a six off Russell after picking a boundary off each of the following two overs. 

However, West Indies suffered a great deal of damage in the last over. After giving up a four and a six to Salt, Alzarri Joseph had an awful start to the match. Buttler then punished a free-hit for a boundary. As if that wasn’t enough, West Indies gave up five wides in a row to end up with a 26-run over, including a slower ball down leg that Nicholas Pooran failed to gather.

Russell took his first wicket when the dangerous Salt left for a 20-ball 40 with the first ball after the powerplay. Joseph let up 17 runs in his second over, allowing him to continue leaking runs, but he also got rid of Will Jacks, who had just hit two consecutive sixes. At the halfway mark, England 112 on the board and were well on their way to going past 200.

West Indies’s Response

The innings’ first and second halves were entirely different from one another. Harry Brook was outfoxed by a slower ball from Jason Holder and was unable to score, while Buttler had slowed down and misjudged a pull to be caught for 39. If that wasn’t enough, England also lost Ben Duckett at a critical moment, which meant Sam Curran and Liam Livingstone would have to handle the finishing responsibilities. The strange boundary did materialise, and after hitting Holder for two consecutive sixes, Livingstone looked to be giving England a late push towards 200, but in a spectacular collapse, England collapsed from 165/5 to 171 all out. Before Joseph made amends with two runs in his final over, Russell took out the dangerous Livingstone and added the wicket of Rehan Ahmed before Joseph made amends with two more wickets to give West Indies complete momentum heading into the innings break.

After England scored 13 runs in the opening over, the West Indies advanced further when Brandon King hit Curran for two sixes and a four, and Kyle Mayers then hit a huge six off Will Jacks. The hosts struck 59 in the opening six overs, but King’s onslaught was cut short by a brilliant catch from Duckett. Mayers and Shai Hope then teamed to hit Rehan for three sixes right after the PP to seize control of the chase. 

After the wild start, the chase followed a similar pattern to the first innings. Mayers misplayed a ball against Adil Rashid, allowing him to go for 35. Rehan then made a strong return, taking out Pooran. Rashid, who was having a great stint, then claimed the significant wicket of Shimron Hetmyer, which coincidentally was his 100th wicket in this format in his 100th game. Fortunately for the hosts, rain came in the next over, which stopped England’s forward momentum.

At that point, the West Indies led by six runs thanks to DLS, but play did restart some forty minutes after the players left the pitch. After WI was reduced to 123/6 by a double wicket over from Rehan, the batting side was still in the running after Russell was out at number eight. Russell witnessed Rovman Powell relieve the pressure with consecutive sixes before unleashing himself. Powell had already impressed with the ball in his first game for WI in two years. Russell and Powel caused chaos before the former wrapped it up in the penultimate over, demonstrating that England was unable to stem the flow of boundaries.

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