Better, much, much better. Not quite faultlessly brilliant but, after a lukewarm victory over Scotland on Tuesday, England turned up the temperature by a good few degrees last night against their accommodating old friends from the Caribbean to win a World Twenty20 warm-up match by nine wickets and with more than five overs to spare.
Having toiled in workmanlike fashion to reach a target of 137 at Trent Bridge 24 hours earlier, Paul Collingwood's team rocketed past a seemingly half-decent West Indies total of 144 for 6 with openers Ravi Bopara and Luke Wright doing so much damage under the new Lord's floodlights that only another 26 runs were needed when Kevin Pietersen walked in at No 3.
England have now beaten West Indies seven times on the bounce – including two Tests and four one-day internationals – but this was arguably the biggest thumping of the lot. Pity, perhaps, that it counts for nothing in terms of points or career records but the hosts can take great heart from their performance ahead of tomorrow's tournament curtain-raiser against the Netherlands. And no one will be happier than Wright.
The 24-year-old all-rounder struggled against Scotland and looked in more bother last night while taking nine balls to get off the mark. But having swung and missed several times, Wright finally connected well enough to hit Lionel Baker to the cover boundary, and from then on there was no stopping him. He raced to 75 not out from 48 deliveries, crunching eight fours and five sixes – including three huge pulls off consecutive long hops from medium-pacer Kieron Pollard.
Bopara, in the form of his life, played the more cultured innings by a distance, contributing 60 (from 35 balls) to an opening stand of 119 before holing out to deep mid-wicket.
"I got stuck at the start and I didn't want to put too much pressure on Ravi," Wright said. "The way he played was brilliant. I made a decision to try to up my game and luckily it came off. I just tried to watch the ball and hit it."
England's bowling, against a West Indies outfit minus resting captain Chris Gayle, was not quite so clinical. But leg-spinner Adil Rashid kept his name in the hat by delivering four tight overs for 20 runs after engineering the run out of Andre Fletcher through some quick work at short third man.
Collingwood's team lost half a mark for Graeme Swann failing to hold a difficult slip catch when opener Xavier Marshall edged Jimmy Anderson. But although Marshall benefited to a minor extent, only Ramnaresh Sarwan seriously threatened the home attack, ending the innings with a six off Ryan Sidebottom.Reuse content