By Willis Bennett
England dismissed West Indies for just 71 in the third – and final – Twenty20 match in Saint Kitts to inflict consecutive batting collapses upon the West indies, who become the first international team to be dismissed for less than 75 runs in consecutive matches.
West Indies won the toss and elected to bat. And this proved to be all the reigning World Champions had to cheer about.
A superb start from left-arm seamer David Willey set the tone for the evening. The Yorkshireman took four wickets for just seven runs in his three-over spell – the second-best bowling display by an Englishman, bettered only by Chris Jordan’s 4-6 in the second match, just two days previously. Willey’s career-best figures amassed 14 dot balls from 18 deliveries.
With the absence of Chris Gayle, the West Indies batting line-up was, on paper, significantly weaker than England’s for the first time this series. And it showed. The West Indies batting-card was an improvement on their efforts last time out, where they were skittled for just 45, but it certainly was not one that will be reflected on with any degree of content. A joint top-score of 11, from Campbell, Holder and Pooran, epitomised the lack of batting quality in what was the fifth-shortest completed international T20 innings ever in terms of balls bowled.
Excellent catches were taken by Jonny Bairstow and Chris Jordan to back-up the simply excellent bowling from Man of the Match Willey (3-0-7-4) and fellow fast-bowler Mark Wood (3-0-9-3). Adil Rashid, who finished with figures of 2-018-2, bowled Obed McCoy to leave the Windies all out inside 15 overs for the second time in three days.
In reply, England went about chasing West Indies’ measly 72 in a manner similar to how they chased 161 in the first match. Alex Hales got off to a flying start, pumping 15 runs from the first five deliveries he faced. Hales was caught in the deep by debutant Campbell soon after, however, to end his quickfire 20.
Bairstow’s excellence with the gloves continued with the bat, with an impressive 37 off 20 balls; an innings that demonstrated surety and intent. He was dismissed by Bishoo with England needing just 10 to win.
In the 11th over, captain Eoin Morgan swept for four to bring up the winnings runs. In doing so Morgan reconfirmed England’s target of 72 was to be nothing more than a formality and wrapped up the T20 series with a 3-0 victory.
Earlier in the series, England were victorious by four wickets in a game that saw Tom Curran take 4-36 and limit West Indies to a respectable 160-8. Jonny Bairstow led form the front with a match winning 68(54) to see England take a 1-0 lead with seven balls to spare.
Looking into an action-packed summer, there are a few dilemmas for Bayliss and his selectors to deal with
This victory was followed by an even more convincing result. An emphatic 137-run victory was orchestrated by Sam Billings, who hit a sensational 87 off 66 balls. In reply, West Indies managed just 45 all out, with only two players reaching double figures.
Chris Jordan was awarded Man of the Series for his outstanding performances with the ball in hand and spectacular moments in the field. Jordan’s figures from the second match of 4-6 are the best by an Englishman in international T20’s.
This T20 series marked a disappointing end for West Indies to what has been a competitive and enthralling series. Many did not expect West Indies to match, or beat, England across the longer forms of the game. However, the hosts recorded a 2-1 Test-series win and managed a 2-2 ODI-series draw thanks in large part to the phenomenal Chris Gayle.
As for England, this T20 series has been excellent. Morgan, who described England’s performance as ‘perfect’, was particularly pleased with the match-winning performances from players – such as Sam Billings, Jordan and Willey – who aren’t necessarily the usual ‘go-to’ men when England are in need of something special.
This T20 series marked a disappointing end for West Indies to what has been a competitive and enthralling series.
Morgan’s side were efficient, clinical and disciplined throughout this T20 series. Head coach Trevor Bayliss will be very pleased by the squad depth demonstrated across these three encounters.
Looking into an action-packed summer, there are a few dilemmas for Bayliss and his selectors to deal with before the upcoming World Cup and Ashes series. Some more troublesome than others. Is Jason Roy the right man to step in at the top of the order for Joe Root’s test-side? With David Willey, Tom Curran and Mark Wood all performing well, how does Jofra Archer fit into the one-day side – if at all?
England’s new-found adaptability will be put to the test. And I can’t wait to see how it all pans out.
Image: Dave Morton via Flickr