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June 3, 2009
England 145 for 1 (Wright 75*, Bopara 60) beat West Indies 144 for 6 (Sarwan 46*) by nine wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
England have comfortably had the better of West Indies throughout their early-season exchanges and the theme continued at Lord's. They raced to a nine-wicket win with 32 balls remaining on the back of an electric opening stand of 119 between Luke Wright and Ravi Bopara. Wright finished with 75 from 38 deliveries after giving the stands a peppering, and confirming his position for the tournament opener, against Netherlands, on Friday.
England's opening combination has never been settled in Twenty20s, but after this effort it's difficult to see these two being separated in the next couple of weeks. The team performance against Scotland was far from convincing, but here England hit their stride with the bowlers and fielders also doing their jobs to hold West Indies to 144.
As the openers did against Scotland they played themselves in for a couple of overs, but the difference was this time they kicked on. Wright struggled initially and the pressure was building, but he found his range as he tucked into Lionel Baker, then Bopara opened up as he took four crunching boundaries off Dwayne Bravo's opening over.
West Indies' fielding again let them down when Sulieman Benn dropped a regulation chance at midwicket when Bopara was on 29 and the match was soon out of reach. England are often criticised for not clearing the boundary often enough, but Wright unleashed three consecutive leg-side sixes in Kieron Pollard's first over which cost 22 with a show of brutal strength and moved to fifty off 36 balls. It was the style of batting that he produces at county level but hasn't been consistently able to translate to the next level. He won't always be successful, but the England management appear ready to trust his ability.
Bopara's talent is already clear and some of his boundary-striking was a joy as he played with uninhibited ease. His half century took 31 deliveries and it was looking as though England would cross the winning line without loss until Bopara picked out deep midwicket against Shivnarine Chanderpaul's occasional spinners.
Wright hurried the game to a conclusion in style as he crunched Chanderpaul for another six and showed that he could hit proper pace as well by creaming Fidel Edwards down the ground. It was a highly satisfactory outing throughout by England, who were also sharp in the field and consistent with the ball.
Chris Gayle handed the captaincy to Denesh Ramdin and didn't bother to bat despite being named in the 13 and West Indies struggled for any real momentum. Only Ramnaresh Sarwan's unbeaten 46 from No. 6 lifted them over 140 as England fielded their three main quicks, with Stuart Broad the most economical as he went through his variations, and Adil Rashid conceding just five-an-over during his four overs.
The only blot on England's evening was the opening-over drop by Graeme Swann at second slip that reprieved Xavier Marshall. West Indies' opening partnership was beginning to increase the tempo, with Andre Fletcher launching James Anderson over mid-off for six, before the first horrendous misunderstanding left Fletcher stranded as he tried to come back for a second.
Fletcher's wicket came in an over that encapsulated Twenty20 cricket with 16 runs being traded for two wickets. Two balls later Chanderpaul was brilliantly held at third man by Ryan Sidebottom, who sprinted around to hold the top-edged pull, and showed that his fitness concerns are well behind him. West Indies didn't help themselves with some of their running when Pollard was the second to fall to poor calling as he sprinted up the pitch only to find Marshall hadn't moved an inch.
Rashid was given a bowl ahead of Swann, while Wright was also handed his turn and provided the next breakthrough when Marshall gloved his pull to James Foster. Rashid had looked understandably nervous against Scotland, but after a big first ball wide was more settled in this innings. Helped by the fact West Indies had lost wickets he conceded just a single boundary in his four overs and picked up Bravo who carved down to long-off.
Lendl Simmons should have gone when he had 3 but Asoka de Silva failed to pick up the outside edge off Broad, however he could only add four more before picking out deep-square leg against Swann. Sarwan ran hard towards the end of the innings, but boundaries were difficult to come by throughout the innings. That wasn't a problem England experienced.