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Red hot Archer nabs three wickets as West Indies stumble

WICKETS: Jofra Archer
Photo credit: ImageQuest

JOFRA ARCHER showed that he had more than one arrow in his quiver. After his initial onslaught had failed to dislodge the early batsmen the Barbadian Exile came back with a vital strike of two wickets in consecutive deliveries - though the hat-trick eluded him. West Indies were dismissed for 212 in the match which could decide which of these two teams go forward to the semi-finals.

The challenge was laid down. Archer would be bowling to Chris Gayle. It was mooted as being a confrontation in the style of Deontay Wilder against ….. anybody who hits a bit harder than Anthony Joshua. As soon as he won the toss Eoin Morgan, the England captain, put West Indies in to bat in a gloom which if it was described as being stygian was because nobody could see as far as that. Archer unleashed his thunderbolts, the crowd, if not quite the world, held its breath, and Gayle trundled on towards yet another half-century.

He did not get there because with his score at 36 the Jamaican left-hander smacked a delivery from Liam Plunkett towards the long square-leg boundary where Jonny Bairstow, running round, completed the catch.

By then Evin Lewis had been dismissed already, bowled by Chris Woakes in the opening exchanges of the morning. Shortly afterwards Shai Hope, scratching around uncertainly, as if batting indeed more by hope than judgement, got his leg in front of a straight ball from Mark Wood.

The umpire did not agree with the appeal but the review-system did and that is what mattered. That brought to the crease Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer - the future, it is said, of West Indies batting. They certainly played so - pushing the score along, hitting boundaries when they had to, and cutting out unnecessary flamboyance.

Then with the partnership at 89 - and his own score 39 - Hetmyer hit a comparatively simple caught-and-bowled catch to Joe Root. Shortly afterwards at 156-5 captain Jason Holder was out in exactly way, and England were through to the underbelly of West Indies batting.

But not soft under-belly. Andre Russell's ego-perception allows no negative or defensive action. He swept a ball from Adil Rashid into the hands of Woakes at deep mid-wicket - and out again - which he followed with two towering sixes in the same over. With his own score at 21 and the total the all-rounder perished the way he had batted - caught by Wood and deep mid-wicket from Woakes.

Archer gained the important wicket of Pooran, out to the thinnest of catches to wicketkeeper Buttler, and had Sheldon Cottrell l.b.w to the next ball. That was at 202-8 and nine runs - and one six by Carlos Braithwaite - later Archer had his Barbadian compatriot caught at the wicket.

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