England justified their billing among the favourites for the Twenty20 World Cup with a comprehensive thrashing of the defending champions, the West Indies.
The two teams’ opening game was a repeat of the last final, in 2016, but a very different match.
England bowled out West Indies for 55 in 14.2 overs with spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali doing the bulk of the damage in Dubai on Saturday.
It took Eoin Morgan’s team just 8.2 overs to knock the runs off.
Only Chris Gayle, with a run-a-ball 13, reached double figures in the West Indies innings, which had began reasonably, reaching 2-27 midway through the fifth over.
Ali, opening the innings, took 2-17 in four overs to set the tone, figures matched by Tymal Mills, making his comeback after three years out of international cricket.
Rashid, having been kept back to avoid West Indies’ upper order left-handers, then wrapped up the innings with a remarkable spell of four wickets for two runs in 14 balls.
England, keen to maximise their net-run-rate, batted in a hurry, losing four wickets with Akeal Hosein (2-24) bowling well. But the result was never in doubt and Jos Buttler hit the winning runs to finish with 24 not out from 22 balls.
“It is as good as it gets to start a tournament like that,” said Morgan. “Full credit to our bowling unit. The guys were very disciplined, we fielded well, took all our chances and created pressure.”
Kieron Pollard, West Indies’ captain, said: “We weren’t good enough, being bowled out for 55 is unacceptable. These games sometimes you just have to bin it and move on.
“No panic will come into the camp, we have played a lot of T20 around the world, this is not the first time something like this will have happened. It is what it is, and we move on from here.”
West Indies’ next match is on Tuesday against South Africa, who also lost their opening match, to Australia. England play on Wednesday against Bangladesh.