England's #Cricket team continues to experience the swings and roundabouts of fortune, during their preparations for the forthcoming World Cup Down Under, as their first ODI warm-up match post the recent tri-series saw them slam the West Indies by nine wickets. The 'Windies' simply never had a foothold in the one-sided match and one wonders if the English found out that much about their players as a result. Such a lack of quality from their opposition never tested their mettle as far as they would have probably liked, although another win can only boost confidence within the squad.
The only thing that the men from the Caribbean won on the day was the toss, which prompted them to decide to bat first. That seemed to have been an unwise choice, when they slipped to two wickets down for only one run, within the first over bowled by Chris Woakes. With big hitters Chris Gayle and Darren Bravo already gone, the batting side struggled along to 35-4, as the innings drifted along in a lacklustre fashion. It seemed unlikely that they would post anything like a challenging total for England, yet Lendl Simmons at least provided some hope with a top score of 45. He found little support from his team mates though, with only three of them even reaching double figures, as they limped to a meagre 122 all out. Woakes was rightly delighted with his contribution to the bowling attack, taking a splendid 5-19 from 7.3 overs.
There seemed little likelihood that England would struggle in their reply, with early wickets seeming to be the only means for the Windies to have any chance at all. As it was, the victory was confirmed with over 27 overs still remaining to be bowled, as England lost just one wicket in reply. Moeen Ali will have benefited from time at the crease as he top scored with 46.Twenty-five-year-old Woakes' form presents an interesting dilemma for the selectors going forward in the ODI format, as he offers an alternative to the usual duo of James Anderson and Stuart Broad for who takes the new ball. He diplomatically fended off the question of his new ball chances for the World Cup, when questioned by BBC Sport after the match: "I'd be more than happy to continue that role, but whatever role I'm given I'll try and do my best for England."