Clear heads needed for England

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Highlights: Inspired Gayle beats England

Whatever total England made in Mumbai, it would not have been enough. When Chris Gayle bats like he did and you cannot get him out, you lose the game.

That’s exactly what happened as West Indies overhauled England’s 182-6 to win their World Twenty20 opener with 11 deliveries to spare.

It was a brilliant, chanceless innings from Gayle, his 17th century in T20 cricket. There is not another batsman like him in this form of the game.

A massive 86 of his 100 runs came in boundaries. As a bowler, that is so intimidating and it is very difficult to keep a cool head in those circumstances.

As a result, England’s plans became a little muddled, but that is a very easy observation to make from the sanctuary of the commentary box, without the hulking figure of Gayle standing 22 yards away.

Having said that, England’s thinking must be clearer if they are going to get out of the group. They have to set fields and then bowl to them.

Before the tournament, captain Eoin Morgan said he did not share the concerns that many of us had about this England attack – inexperience, the lack of pace, what happens when the ball does not swing.

But the likes of David Willey and Reece Topley look to be a very hittable pace when the ball isn’t doing anything. On top of that, they do not have experience to fall back on, so they can be left exposed.

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Gayle’s 11 sixes against England

It certainly leaves me wondering why Stuart Broad is not in this squad, because England would certainly be a stronger team with him in it.

As well as the bowling, England will look at the score they made. Personally, I thought it was OK.

After 12 overs of the England innings, we thought 180 would be about par and they duly got beyond that.

However, you can always look at little areas of improvement and England could have accelerated further. Indeed, they only added 36 runs in five overs after Alex Hales got out.

Joe Root played nicely for his 48, Jos Buttler moved things along before getting out a bad time, while not one of the top order went on to make a really telling contribution.

Still, if you make 182 you can expect to win more games than you lose, a point illustrated by the fact that England had never before failed to defend a score that large.

Now, Friday’s game with a South Africa side who beat them twice in this format earlier this year takes on even greater significance.

England can’t go out on Friday, but they can certainly be pushed very close to the exit door.

They must think carefully about their bowling, but, the very nature of Twenty20 cricket allows teams to greatly improve in a very short space of time.

Overall, the Super 10 phase of this World T20 has started with a real bang. Before Gayle’s pyrotechnics, there was New Zealand’s stunning win over India.

While that was a brilliant result for the Black Caps, the pitch the match was played on was dreadful and, in some ways, India got what they deserved for producing a surface so suited to spin bowling.

For T20 cricket, you want good, flat pitches that allow batsmen to play their shots. That’s what the game is about – entertainment.

And entertainment is exactly what was provided by Chris Gayle.

Jonathan Agnew was talking to BBC Sport’s Stephan Shemilt

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