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England’s 51 dot balls, Salt’s brilliance hand Windies first defeat

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Saint Lucia: An outstanding performance by England, featuring an impressive 51 dot balls and a stellar innings from Phil Salt, propelled the reigning ICC Men’s T20 World Cup champions back into prominence as they defeated the West Indies in the second Super-8 match here late Wednesday night.

This victory handed the co-hosts their first loss of the tournament, dropping them to the lower half of Group 2. Adding to their woes, opener Brandon King sustained a side strain while batting.

Chasing 181 target, openers Salt and Jos Buttler built a strong foundation in England’s chase, hitting seven boundaries in the Powerplay, including one of the tournament’s biggest sixes from Salt. England reached 58/0 at the six-over mark, slightly ahead of the West Indies’ pace.

Roston Chase eventually broke the partnership by trapping Buttler LBW for 25 off 22 in the eighth over. Moeen Ali then hit two fours in the ninth over, including a reverse sweep.

At the halfway point, England was 83/1, mirroring the West Indies’ earlier position.

Drinks break favored the hosts, with Moeen Ali falling to Johnson Charles at deep midwicket on the first ball after the interval. Jonny Bairstow took England past 100 (101/2) by the 12th over, maintaining a close run rate comparison.

Salt continued his aggressive batting, bringing up a 38-ball 50 and hitting 30 runs in a single over from Romario Shepherd. Bairstow then completed a flurry of boundaries, lowering the required run rate and leading England to a commanding win by the middle of the 18th over.

This victory puts England in a strong position to advance to the knockout stage of the tournament.

Earlier, Brandon King and Charles gave the West Indies a strong start, dominating the Powerplay. They had the hosts at 40/0 in the fifth over when King suffered what appeared to be a groin injury while attempting a drive off Sam Curran’s delivery, forcing him to retire hurt.

Nicholas Pooran joined Charles and together they pushed the score to 54 runs by the end of the Powerplay, setting a solid foundation.

Pooran hit a six off Mark Wood at the start of the eighth over, but England managed to tighten their grip until the mid-innings break, leaving the West Indies at 82/0 after 10 overs.

Charles ended a boundary drought right after drinks by hitting Adil Rashid for six, but he was soon dismissed for 38 off 34 by Moeen Ali. Captain Rovman Powell then arrived and hit a maximum to end the 12th over.

Powell and Pooran accelerated the scoring until Liam Livingstone claimed Powell’s wicket (36 off 17) at the end of the 15th over. Jofra Archer later dismissed Pooran (36 off 32), and Sherfane Rutherford’s unbeaten 28 off 15 balls helped the Windies reach 180/4.

Brief scores: West Indies 180/4 in 20 overs (Rovman Powell 36, Nicholas Pooran 36; Adil Rashid 1-21) lost to England 181/2 in 17.3 overs (Phil Salt 87*, Jonny Bairstow 48*; Roston Chase 1-19) by eight wickets.

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