England wrapped up a T20I series win with a 137-run thrashing of the West Indies today at Warner Park in St Kitts – a blistering bowling display dismissing the hosts for just 45, the second-lowest international T20 score ever.
Having been put in to bat, England too struggled early on, slipping to 32 for 4 in the sixth over, but Joe Root and Sam Billings shared in a 72-run partnership to resurrect the innings.
Root (55 off 40 balls) hit a classy half-century, while Billings blasted his way to 87 off 47, with a massive 44 runs coming from the final two overs to see England up to a competitive score of 182 for 6.
But, that was all it was expected to be, competitive. Instead, England blew the hapless Windies away, knocking them from their throne following their triumph in the Tests and the tied ODI series earlier in the tour.
The Barbados-born Chris Jordan was England’s star of the show, taking 4-8, returning double strikes in both of his two overs, the first of those coming off consecutive deliveries to see him on a hat-trick.
The Windies avoided that added embarrassment, but they could do nothing to avoid a dismal defeat as they were ultimately skittled in 11.5 overs.
Such a heavy defeat could not have been anticipated given the early exchanges after the Windies won the toss and opted to insert England.
The visitors lost four wickets in the opening six-over powerplay; Devendra Bishoo took a terrific catch at backward point to dismiss Jonny Bairstow (12), while slow-left-armer Fabian Allen (2-29) claimed Alex Hales (8) and Joe Denly (2) in consecutive overs, either side of Carlos Brathwaite snaring England skipper Eoin Morgan (1) down the leg side.
Root and Billings rebuilt patiently, with just two boundaries struck from the next four and a half overs, and one of those came courtesy of a dropped catch – a tricky chance for debutant Obed McCoy running in from long-on.
Despite that drop, it was a much-improved display from the Windies in the outfield and, as Root and Billings’ partnership grew ever more dangerous, it was a fine bit of work in the field that finally stopped it in its tracks – Allen running out Root shortly after he had brought up a 36-ball fifty that more than proved his worth in the shortest format after an in-and-out run in the side.
But Billings was relentless in his pursuit of a big score that might too earn him a more permanent position in England’s white-ball unit, as he walloped 32 runs in boundaries alone from the final two overs on his way to a career-best in international cricket.
Brathwaite (1-33) – who had allowed just 11 runs from his first three overs – had his figures ruined, while McCoy’s debut only got worse, conceding 44 from his three overs, although he at least ended with a maiden strike, the consolation scalp of Billings with the final ball of the innings.
Much of the Windies’ run-chase would depend on Chris Gayle, who has rolled backed the years with some staggering displays of hitting during the white-ball leg of England’s tour. But he, and fellow opener Shai Hope both fell to David Willey (2-18) in the third over.
Gayle tamely chipped one back to Root at mid-on, a dolly of a catch, while Hope departed after skying one into the legside which Morgan somehow held on to, despite a dangerous collision with Tom Curran as the pair converged on the catch.
It started the procession, and the game was all but over a mere handful of deliveries later as Jordan dismissed Darren Bravo, caught behind, and Jason Holder, lbw, with back-to-back balls.
Nicholas Pooran survived the hat-trick delivery, but Jordan returned to claim his man with the first ball of his second over. Searing pace and decent bounce off the deck did for Pooran as he steered an edge behind, while Allen sent his slightly wider to Root at slip when he was undone later in the over.
England denied Jordan a five-for by sitting him down for the rest of the innings, so it was left to Adil Rashid (2-12) and Liam Plunkett (2-8) to run through the lower order instead as England clinched an emphatic win to claim the series with Sunday’s game to spare.
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