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England’s revenge as defending champ West Indies out for 55

October 23, 2021 GMT
West Indies' Ravi Rampaul is clean bowled by England's Adil Rashid during the Cricket T20 World Cup match between England and the West Indies at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, in Dubai, UAE, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
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West Indies' Ravi Rampaul is clean bowled by England's Adil Rashid during the Cricket T20 World Cup match between England and the West Indies at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, in Dubai, UAE, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
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West Indies' Ravi Rampaul is clean bowled by England's Adil Rashid during the Cricket T20 World Cup match between England and the West Indies at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, in Dubai, UAE, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — West Indies started its T20 World Cup title defense with a stunning failure on Saturday, bowled out for only 55 by England in the lowest total at the tournament by a top-tier nation.

England completed a six-wicket win by reaching 56-4 in just 8.2 overs to gain revenge for losing the final to West Indies at the last T20 World Cup in 2016 — and, more importantly, start this tournament off in convincing fashion and with the added advantage of a strong run rate.

“It’s as good as it gets,” said England captain Eoin Morgan, who won the toss and asked West Indies to bat. “To start our campaign like that, all credit to our bowling unit. The guys were very disciplined and we took our chances.”

The big win took England top of Group 1 in the Super 12s and ahead of Australia, which beat South Africa by five wickets in another low-scoring game earlier Saturday in Abu Dhabi.

India plays Pakistan to open Group 2 on Sunday in one of cricket’s fiercest rivalries.

The West Indies innings in Dubai disintegrated in 14.2 overs in a flurry of attempted big hits on the first day of Super 12 action, when the so-called big teams join the fray.

Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Nicholas Pooran all went down swinging and, in the blink of an eye and with some sharp catching by England, the defending champion was 42-6 after 8.5 overs.

Obed McCoy embodied the cavalier approach by throwing his bat at the first ball he faced, despite his team being 49-8 at the time, to be caught at long-on.

Legspinner Adil Rashid finished with superb figures of four wickets for two runs off 2.2 overs. Moeen Ali and Tymal Mills both returned 2-17.

England lost four wickets in its undemanding chase but was never realistically in danger of losing the game and Jos Buttler (24 not out) confirmed the inevitable by smacking a pull shot for four off West Indies captain Kieron Pollard.

England won with 70 balls remaining for a result that might soothe five years of hurt. In 2016, Carlos Brathwaite hit four sixes in a row in the last over of the final to snatch the title from England.

On a low day for West Indies on Saturday, spin bowler Akeal Hosein may have had the only highlight with his diving, one-handed caught and bowled effort to remove Jonny Bairstow.

But even that didn’t distract from a dismal batting performance from West Indies, where T20 veteran Gayle, who hit three fours in his 13, was the only player to reach double figures.

Only the Netherlands, twice, has been dismissed for a lower total than 55 at the T20 World Cup.

“It was unacceptable, we accept that,” said West Indies captain Pollard. “These sorts of games (happen) sometimes, we just need to bin it.”

“Guys tried to play their shots and it didn’t come off.”

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