Morgan blitz unable to save England

The West Indies' Super Eight campaign got off to a winnings start in Pallekele on Thursday as they beat England by 15 runs, despite a superb innings of 71 off 36 balls by batsman Eoin Morgan.

The West Indies' Super Eight campaign got off to a winnings start in Pallekele on Thursday as they beat England by 15 runs, despite a superb innings of 71 not out off 36 balls by batsman Eoin Morgan.

If the Irishman had been sent in slightly earlier, with England having lost two wickets in the first over of their chase, the outcome may well have been different as he and Alex Hales put on a century stand for the fourth wicket, chasing the 180 required.

But he was left stranded as England could only reach 164 for four, after the West Indies made 179 for five, with Chris Gayle (58) and Johnson Charles (84) the stars for the Caribbean side. Stuart Broad was the pick of the England bowlers with two wickets, while Ravi Rampaul did the early damage that crippled England's chase.

The West Indies won the toss and got off to a superb start, despite Charles' initially sluggish batting, and reached their fifty in the seventh over without loss. Gayle scored the bulk of those runs, with six boundaries flying off his bat.

England thought the introduction of the spinners would curb Gayle, but he defied them and hit three massive sixes off Samit Patel's first over, rocketing the score from 53 to 72 in one over. Those shots saw the relatively new ball changed as it had been ruined after hitting the stands.

Charles decided to join the party and then whacked Graeme Swann out the ground twice in one over, the Windies going at a run rate of 10 after nine overs. Gayle brought up his ninth fifty in T20s in the next over, off 29 balls.

Gayle found himself caught on the boundary in the 11th over off Swann for 58. Steve Finn held onto the high catch after dropping Charles the ball before in nearly identical fashion, the score on 103.

Charles continued to advance and recorded his maiden T20 fifty in the 12th over off 36 balls, including six boundaries and two sixes. Having played only a handful of First Class matches, Charles proved the doubters wrong with his calm yet flashy knock.

Charles could not finish what he started though and was caught on the long on ropes by Jonny Bairstow in the 18th over, his score on 84, which was his best ever in any professional match.

Skipper Darren Sammy could only add four runs to the total before being bowled by Broad, as England came back strongly into the match with some superb death bowling. But Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell managed to add an extra 25 runs in the final two overs to make a competitive total.

England's chase got off to the worst possible start, as Rampaul dismissed Craig Kieswetter and Luke Wright with successive balls before a run was on the board. Kieswetter was caught by Kieron Pollard before Gayle caught Wright.

Hales and Jonny Bairstow were tasked with the recovery and put on 55 together before Bairstow was brilliantly caught on the boundary by Pollard. The big all-rounder took the catch above his head on the run, preventing a certain six.

Hales continued his knock and soon reached his fifty, off 36 balls, but it seemed a doomed task as the run rate climbed over 13 as the spinners continued to strangle the runs. Morgan wasn't defeated though and soon added a big six off a Gayle full toss.

Morgan showed why he should have come in much earlier, smashing his fifty off 25 balls, taking advantage of some lucky bounces and top edges.

Meanwhile, the West Indies fielding was out of the top drawer, with Andre Russell stopping a certain six with a diving block on the ropes, while Sammy stopped a four with a full stretch dive and hauled the ball back in.

The partnership between Morgan and Hales reached the 100 mark off 52 balls, and at that stage England needed 30 runs off 10 balls. When it came down to the final over, England needed 23 and Samuels was given the task of bowling it.

Hales found himself back in the dug out with two balls to go, stumped off Samuels for 68 as he tried to swing for the fences, England needing 18 off three balls. Jos Buttler came in and could only watch as the Windies celebrated.

England: Craig Kieswetter, Alex Hales, Luke Wright, Eoin Morgan, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Samit Patel, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steve Finn, Jade Dernbach

West Indies: Johnson Charles, Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul, Samuel Badree