England crush Windies at T20 World Cup, Aussies edge South Africa

Dubai (AFP) – England thrashed defending champions West Indies by six wickets in their opening match of the Twenty20 World Cup on Saturday, while Australia beat South Africa in a tense, low-scoring match.


Leg-spinner Adil Rashid took career-best T20 figures of 4-2 as favourites England began the Super 12 stage by skittling West Indies for just 55 in a rematch of the 2016 final.

Chris Gayle (13) was the only West Indies batter to reach double digits as Moeen Ali and Tymal Mills both struck twice before Rashid wrapped up the innings by picking up the last four wickets.

England made hard work of chasing a meagre target but Jos Buttler (24) and skipper Eoin Morgan (7) led the team across the line in 8.2 overs in Dubai.

"We know we have got five, six bowlers there, match winners," Rashid said when asked about the pitches in the United Arab Emirates helping spinners.

"So on any given day anyone can come and get wickets. For us it's a bowling unit thing not just spinners or whatever."

West Indies avoided their worst T20 total of 45 against the same opposition in 2019.

"It was unacceptable, we accept that. These sorts of games sometimes, we just need to bin it," said West Indies captain Kieron Pollard.

"For us, it's just a matter of finding our straps. Obviously, we play a lot of cricket around the world, and this is not the first time something like this has happened."

The two sides met five years after their clash in the 2016 final in Kolkata when Carlos Brathwaite hit Ben Stokes for four straight sixes in the last over.

But with Saturday's crushing performance, England have fired a warning to their rivals in the seventh edition of T20's showpiece event.

Stoinis steadies Australia

They top Group 1 alongside Australia, who defeated South Africa by five wickets thanks to an unbeaten 40-run stand from Marcus Stoinis and Matthew Wade.

Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood took 2-19 to help limit South Africa to 118-9 after the Aussies elected to bowl first in Abu Dhabi.

Number four Aiden Markram played a lone hand with his 40 off 36 deliveries before falling to Mitchell Starc.

Australia found themselves in trouble at 81-5 after Steve Smith, who scored 35, and Glenn Maxwell, who made 18, departed.

But Stoinis hit 24 off 16 balls, ably supported by the left-handed Wade, who made 15. Stoinis hit the winning boundary to secure victory for Australia with two balls to spare.

Marcus Stoinis helped guide Australia to a five-wicket win over South Africa
Marcus Stoinis helped guide Australia to a five-wicket win over South Africa INDRANIL MUKHERJEE AFP

"The main thing for me there was trying to stay as calm as I can and for a Greek Australian that's pretty hard," Stoinis said.

"You saw a bit of emotion come out towards the end, but the main thing is Wadey and I were just communicating, trying to sort out who was going to bowl each over and making a plan and then staying calm from there."

South Africa captain Temba Bavuma said his team should have been looking at at least 150 to defend.

"It was definitely not a par score -- we really didn't bat well barring Aiden," he said.

"From a batting point of view, we know that there was a lot we could have done differently and we will be looking to correct our wrongs in the next game."

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka face off in Sharjah on Sunday, while India begin their campaign against old rivals Pakistan in Dubai.

India, who clinched T20's biggest prize in 2007 but have not won a world title since the 2013 Champions Trophy, have beaten Pakistan in all of their 12 matches at the T20 and 50-over World Cups.