West Indies 133 for 6 (Hope 43 not out, Rutherford 30) beat England 132 (Salt 38, Motie 3-24) by four wickets
WEST Indies bowlers help beat England at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba on Thursday to take the T20I series 3-2 in a decider.
Gudakesh Motie was the pick of the West Indies bowlers with 3 for 24 and Jason Holder, Andre Russell and Akeal Hosein picking up two wickets apiece in their overs.
West Indies skipper Rovman Powell won the toss and sent England into bat. Phil Salt, after scoring back-to-back tons in the third and fourth games, started well in the powerplay and still managed to top score for England by making 38. He was bowled by Motie, setting the stadium alight.
After losing Jos Buttler and Will Jacks in the Powerplay for 11 and seven respectively, England were 50 for two at the end of it. Things only got worse for England when, in the ninth over, Harry Brook tried to sweep Motie but the ball struck him on the glove and floated up into the air and fell into the gloves of a waiting Nicholas Pooran. This put England at a less than favourable 70 for 4.
Moeen Ali came to the crease with Liam Livingstone and steadied the innings for England. They put on a 40-run stand to help cross the century mark. Ali hit one down the ground to Russell at mid-on who initially caught it but found his body going over the boundary rope. Russell threw the ball to the West Indies captain Powell just before his foot hit the ground over the boundary rope. Powell dove and caught the ball to give Hosein his second wicket. Magnificent team work.
After Ali went, wickets fell at regular intervals. England lost their last six wickets for 22 runs. This left the English bowlers a less than par score of 132 to defend.
It was a simple run chase on paper for the West Indies batsmen, but in spite of this, the home team got off to a rocky start when Brandon King mistimed a heave and saw the ball go up into the night sky and into the hands of Buttler at short mid-wicket. West Indies were 20 for one in the third over. This saw Nicholas Pooran come to the crease, greeted by his cheering home fans.
The wicket-keeper batsman could only put on ten as a length delivery from Reece Topley had him playing on. The Brian Lara cricket Academy was silenced. West Indies were on 33 for two and looked like they were making a mountain out of a molehill at this point. They finished the Power Play on 39 for two with Shai Hope and Johnson Charles at the wicket.
Charles and Hope put on a 21-run stand before Charles was sent back to the dressing room by Adil Rashid. He held out at cover to Buttler. West Indies were 54 for three at the end of the eight over.
Sherfane Rutherford strutted out to the crease and he and Hope steadied the innings with a 41-run stand which took West Indies to 95 for 4. Rutherford was caught by Sam Curran at cover off Rashid.
Skipper Powell, came out to join Hope and was greeted warmly by the partisan crowd. He struck a six over long-on off Rehan Ahmed but fell the very next over to Topley being caught by Rashid at short third man, putting West Indies on 113 for 5. Andre Russell strutted to the crease. This rekindled a sense of hope in England for a surprise victory.
The game appeared to be over at the start of the 19th over when West Indies needed 11 runs from 12 balls. However, Curran had other plans.
The first four balls of the 19th over yielded just one run. On the fifth ball, Russell was presented with a full toss by Curran but did not time it properly and it went down the throat of Liam Livingstone at long-on. This put West Indies in trouble as they now needed ten runs off seven balls. Holder was next into bat and took a single off the last ball of the 19th over to give West Indies nine runs to make in the last over.
Chris Woakes bowled the last over. On the first ball, Holder edged it past Rehan at backward square who gave chase; not before Holder and Hope ran three. It was now six runs required off five balls. The next ball was in the slot and wide and Hope battered it over deep point and into the mound to clinch victory in the match and series.
Motie was awarded man of the match for his three wickets for 24 runs in his four overs. Salt was deservedly honoured with Man of the Series for his back-to-back centuries and the most runs, 331. Rashid had nine wickets which was the most in the T20I series.
Commenting on the match and series, West Indies skipper, Powell said, “Special thanks to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Spent some time yesterday having meetings, still a good bowling team. Losing wickets at a key time but Shai Hope was the key man, grafting in the middle order. Served our batting group well. Credit to the grounds men across the Caribbean. Credit to them, hats off, they did fantastic. We found players standing up and in good teams that happens. I have a good bunch of guys around me, they respect me and trust my judgment. I try to lead and the guys follow.”
English captain Buttler said, “Conditions were different, didn’t adapt quickly enough. 160 would have been good. A really good effort with the ball. Salt’s had a fantastic series, back to back hundreds, found out lots about ourselves, take the learnings and try to improve. The breeze plays a big part here, big premium on six-hitting, had a great time coming here to the Caribbean.”