England survive late West Indies onslaught to cling on for dramatic victory by ONE run to level T20 series in Barbados after West Indies needed 61 from their final three overs
- England claimed victory over West Indies in Barbados in dramatic fashion
- West Indies needed 61 off the final three overs and nearly stunned England
- England just about held on to victory to level the T20 series in Barbados
Not for the first time, England claimed victory in a white-ball game by the barest of margins.
It should never have been this tight as 24 hours after producing a collapse that would not have looked out of place in the Ashes, the world’s number-one Twenty20 team played to their ranking – for 90 per cent of the contest at least.
But in what was an extraordinary ending, in which West Indies required 61 off the final three overs with ninth-wicket pair Romario Shepherd and Akeal Hosein at the crease, they had just one run left in the bank following an extraordinary blitz of strokes.
England players celebrate after claiming a dramatic win over West Indies to level the series
Akeal Hosein is consoled after the West Indies couldn’t quite complete the comeback
Eoin Morgan’s side might even have hit complete disaster had umpire Nigel Duguid called the second delivery of the final over sent down by Saqib Mahmood a wide, as he might.
West Indies began that with 30 needed and their never-say-die attitude took them to within a single from a position of 65 for seven when Hosein smoked the final three deliveries over the ropes.
At the other end, Shepherd made the ground look like a postage stamp towards the death and having selected a team with plenty of firepower, the Windies put down a marker for the rest of the series.
Romario Shepherd and Hosein required 61 off the final three overs of the match which they nearly pulled off
Each of the tail enders struck career-best scores of 44 but the game was ultimately placed out of reach by Reece Topley’s penultimate over.
Topley conceded just eight runs before Hosein got the locals in the home crowd dancing despite England squaring the series at 1-1.
Eoin Morgan challenged a side shorn of its multi-format stars to retain its ambition in their efforts to level the series in Bridgetown and senior players Jason Roy and Moeen Ali responded to the clarion call.
First, Roy top-scored with 45 following an uncharacteristically circumspect start. Then, Moeen took three wickets in a Twenty20 international for the first time as West Indies big hitters were lured into false strokes.
Morgan’s team were given the perfect start in their defence of 171 for eight when Topley claimed his first wicket at this level for six years to remove Brandon King for a golden duck.
Moeen Ali celebrates the wicket of Jason Holdier with team-mate Eoin Morgan
Topley had returned figures of 2-0-33-0 in his previous Twenty20 international – a run-heavy win over South Africa at the 2016 World Cup – but found conditions much more to his liking at Kensington Oval.
The Surrey left-armer – recalled in place of fellow southpaw Tymal Mills in the only change to the side trounced by the Windies in the first match of five here on Saturday – extracted prodigious swing from his first ball and bent one back to have Brandon King, fresh from an unbeaten 50 the previous evening, leg before for nought from his third.
Another hooping delivery would have done for Shai Hope in the third over had anyone noticed that the ball had struck boot before cannoning into bat and back down a fresh pitch.
It mattered not as an outstanding piece of bowling in his follow through by Topley, who got his six-and-a-half foot frame down to half-stop the ball’s progress and then slid to slap it off the turf into the stumps, ran Hope out at the non-striker’s end.
And aside from Liam Dawson fluffing a steepler from Nicholas Pooran, and Morgan putting down a late overhead chance, England’s fielding was as clinical as their much-improved batting.
Roy, 31, took out his World Cup frustration on a Barbados XI in midweek, returning from rehabilitating the calf he tore last autumn to blast a 36-ball hundred.
Morgan’s side played like the world’s number one ranked team for 90% of the contest
However, after this inexperienced side came unstuck on Saturday evening amidst a flurry of misjudgements, he opted for a different tempo.
This time, he nudged and prodded his way to 17 off 23 at the halfway stage but exploded into life after the mid-innings drinks breaks that are a feature of this series, taking Allen for five boundaries in an over that cost 24.
It meant Allen, the slow left-armer, finished with figures of two for 50. He had reason to feel aggrieved. But for a complete misjudgement by Darren Bravo, who failed to lay a hand on a skier from Moeen that held up in the wind, he would have claimed career-best figures.