England’s stand-in ODI captain Stuart Broad blamed poor death-bowling for his side’s narrow loss in the opening match against West Indies on Friday.
Replying to the home side’s competitive total of 269 for six, England were restricted to 254 for six after cruising along merrily at 180 for two in the 37th over.
Michael Lumb’s fluent 106 on ODI debut seemed to ensure that most of the hard work was done in pursuit of a morale-boosting victory. But just as in the West Indies innings, when the home side plundered 116 runs off the last ten overs, England lost their way in the home stretch, losing four wickets for 31 runs.
I wouldn't look too much at the batting - it was the last 10 overs with the ball that hurt us
“I wouldn’t look too much at the batting – it was the last 10 overs with the ball that hurt us,” said Broad. “If we’d given the batsmen 230 to chase we’d have won. We need to learn to win these high-pressure games.
“Up to 40 overs we were fantastic. The spinners were awesome and we put ourselves in a fantastic position, but we conceded 100 off the last seven overs and we need to look at ourselves and know how we can get better.”
Much of that English discomfort in the field in the final stages of the West Indies innings was caused by Darren Sammy.
Coming to the crease after the fall of Lendl Simmons for 65 and a 108-run partnership with skipper Dwayne Bravo, the hosts were still labouring to get any momentum at 153 for five in the 40th over.
But the former captain changed all that, bludgeoning his way to 61 off just 36 balls with five fours and four sixes as he and the man who replaced him at the helm cashed in on Broad’s decision to return to the fast-medium bowlers at the end of the innings.
Bravo’s unbeaten 87 off 91 balls was also entertaining, the pair carting the England bowling to all parts of the huge Sir Vivian Richards ground in taking 116 runs off the hapless bowlers before Sammy fell to Tim Bresnan off the final ball.