Jonny Bairstow celebrates his second hundred in style © Getty Images
Jonny Bairstow celebrates his second hundred in style © Getty Images

Boy, Plunkett is a livewire: When Chris Gayle takes a liking towards a bowler, it takes something extra ordinary to counter him. Gayle was smashing Jake Ball all round the park. Plunkett, out of nowhere, pulled off an amazing catch. Running behind and diving forward, he sent the left-hander for a whirlwind 29-ball 40. In process, debutant Tom Curran also got his first scalp.

Plunkett wasn’t done yet. He produced another splendid effort to outfox Kyle Hope. Hope miscued one, and the bowler held onto a sharp return catch to dismiss him for 33.

Middle-overs fiasco: From 56 for 1 in 8 overs, West Indies (or The Windies) moved onto 86 for 2 in 15. As has often been the case, they failed to press hard in the middle overs. Adding only 49 runs between overs 15 and 30, West Indies piled on their agony. There were as many as 48 dot balls and no boundary in that phase — a below-par effort in modern era. Marlon Samuels failed to shift gears, while Shai Hope stuck his end but found run-making difficult.

Samuels scored one boundary in his 60-ball 32, while Shai took 78 deliveries to strike his first four. This has been a major concern for the T20I champions. They have just not found a way to keep the scoreboard ticking in the middle overs; a phase wherein the game shifts drastically in modern-day.

Probably, a major reason why West Indies are destined to play World Cup 2019 qualifiers!

Ambris, Nurse big hitting: West Indies moved on from their low-scoring phase in the middle overs. They finally accelerated in the last 5 overs. 61 runs came off the last 30 deliveries courtesy a breezy stand by Sunil Ambris and Ashley Nurse.

Ambris struck 4 fours and Nurse striked at 258.33 in his 12-ball 31. As a result, West Indies managed 288 for 6. Only if the middle overs could have been more fruitful, Windies could have posted anything in excess of 300.

Bairstow, Roy sink Windies further: There were no demons on the pitch. West Indies bowlers continued to spray the ball in all corners. Alzarri Joseph tinkered with his lengths by bowling short or full. Miguel Cummins was wayward, whereas Ashley Nurse conceded occasional boundaries. As a result, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow made light work of the chase.

Bairstow and Roy were at ease both against spin and pace. They timed their strokes, pushed hard for singles and kept the scoreboard moving. A 156-run stand inside 21 overs, coupled with 18 strokes to the fence, buried West Indies further.

When your friends get involved in a pub brawl, cement your spot! Another chase, another opportunity at the top, and once again Bairstow stood tall. He has been in immaculate touch for sometime. Be it in any format, the wicketkeeper-batsman appears hungry for success. The right-hander played second fiddle to Roy. By no means, he was left out. He scored at a good rate, ran hard and later on dominated in his unbeaten 138-run stand with Joe Root.

Bairstow’s innings was a mix of effortless strokeplay and quick running. He played the lofted shots, cut and drove with perfection and found the gaps to rotate the strike. He dealt in boundaries, filled with proper cricketing shots. He also registered the highest individual score by an Englishmen versus West Indies; surpassing Marcus Trescothik (124).

In a way, Bairstow taught Windies how to pace an innings in the format. Keep it up, Jonny!