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Hope’s brilliant century clinched the record win for Windies

Both teams had a unique start to this series. England, recently crowned former champions, found themselves searching for redemption after their World Cup disappointment, while West Indies, who hadn’t had the opportunity to participate in the World Cup for the first time in history, were on the right track in the One Day format. The first match of this series was thrilling, with skipper Shai Hope’s magnificent undefeated century leading West Indies to victory with 7 balls and 4 wickets to spare.

When Antigua set England a target of 326 runs, it was an opportunity for West Indies to set a new record for themselves in the Caribbean, as they had never scored that many runs before on their home soil. Despite a good start, they lost momentum after scoring 213 runs and losing 5 wickets. At that time, England seemed to be ahead with Jos Buttler’s presence. However, Romario Shepherd’s 51-ball 89-run partnership with Hope turned the tables for West Indies. Although Shepherd was halted towards the end, Hope ensured victory, leaving the field after scoring 109 runs off 83 balls, including 7 fours and 7 sixes.

The opening partnership of Alix Athanaze and Brandon King helped West Indies reach 100 runs ahead. England couldn’t swiftly take wickets at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. However, the spinners came to aid, using turn and uneven bounce to unsettle the batsmen. Rehan Ahmed got the first breakthrough, claiming Athanaze’s wicket for 66 runs off 65 balls. Soon after, Liam Livingstone’s delivery cleaned up King.

After West Indies’ batting performance, they pushed forward with Hope leading the charge. He forged partnerships with Kieran Powell (38) and Shimron Hetmyer (56). Although the partnership with Shai Hope wasn’t significant with Sharfane Rutherford, as was the case with Shepherd, it added to West Indies’ lead. Although Shae Hope scored 48 runs off 28 balls, Garson Atkins stopped him. However, Hope’s century in a single innings in ODIs became England’s most expensive bowler, conceding 98 runs in 9.5 overs. The previous record was held by Steve Harmison, who gave away 97 runs against Sri Lanka in 2006 at Headingley.

In the World Cup, England’s batting had repeatedly disappointed, but in this match, it seemed to be on the right track. The opening partnership of Phil Salt and Will Jacks scored 77 runs in 8.2 overs. After their quick dismissals, the middle order of Jack Crawley (48 off 63 balls) and Harry Brook (71 off 72 balls) provided a strong foundation for England. Although players like Buttler (3) and Livingstone (17) couldn’t contribute much, the long batting lineup was a boon for the travelers.

Even after losing 7 wickets for 239 runs, England was only 86 runs away from the target when their innings came to an end. Brydon Carse remained unbeaten on 31 runs off 21 balls, while Karim Khan was unbeaten on 38 runs off 26 balls. However, it was Karim Khan who rattled the English bowlers later, creating chaos, and that’s how the day went for England.

The second match of the series will be held at the same ground on December 6th.

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