Saturday, September 30

Jason Roy gives England a platform to survive the late rise of the West Indies | Cricket

Just past the midpoint of their innings, England, poised for a reasonable if not outstanding 64 from two, scored 24 runs in an over brought down by spinner Fabian Allen. Even then it felt potentially decisive, but around an hour and a half later the West Indies were at a similar point in their response, already nine runs and two wickets worse, and needing similar acceleration when England threw the ball to a roulette. of theirs. Adil Rashid bowled a wicket maiden, Moeen Ali quickly grabbed a couple more, and England were well on their way to avenging their humiliating loss in Saturday’s opener.

The competition was going to be tighter than anyone had anticipated at the time. Just as England’s victory seemed like a formality, Romario Shepherd and Akeal Hosein set out to bring the West Indies back into contention, hitting nine sixes between them as the home team finally fell short by a single run having finished their entries with such style that perhaps it is they, despite the defeat, who will reach the third game with greater momentum.

A high-scoring and ultimately excitingly close encounter could hardly have been more different from the series opener, surprisingly because at first it seemed almost the same: again the West Indies won the toss and put England in while Eoin Morgan held out. the drive to make complete changes to a losing team (Reece Topley’s substitution for Tymal Mills was the only change on either side) and wisely noted before the start that “the challenge, similar to yesterday, will be adapting to the conditions: but better”.

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The most significant difference from Saturday’s opener was the field, only a few feet away but without the green patches that may have contributed to the tourists’ hitting problems. More important still was its location, which left one boundary significantly closer than the other. This came to increasingly dominate West Indian thinking as they bowled, leading at one point to Chris Jordan, who made another great cameo with the bat but whose bowling death was later brutally punished, taking on Romario Shepherd with his heels on the outside line of the stump, leaving most of the wicket unprotected as the ball was angled through him.

Though England didn’t exactly explode out of the blocks, with Saturday’s scars still fresh, a bit of circumspection seemed appropriate. The West Indies’ own reading of conditions quickly became clear: there were three spin overs on the power play, during which Jason Holder produced a couple of slow balls that were no faster than some of those being produced by Allen and Hosein, one of which completely baffled Jason Roy. Allen eventually made a double breakthrough in the power play final, firing both Tom Banton and James Vince.

On the other end, Jason Roy watched and learned, and it was he who was solely responsible for slaughtering Allen’s final shortly after the drinks. At the halfway stage of the England innings, Roy was 17 for 23; six installments later he was on the verge of the half-century mark, a mark he failed to meet after slapping Shepherd’s second installment of the night straight into the long haul.

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The West Indies will bemoan the quality of their field, which was downright unlucky at times. Most notably, Moeen twice benefited from ghastly drops, though Darren Bravo had the decent excuse that the setting sun was staring at him as he stopped and dropped the ball safely nearby.

England’s 171 for eight seemed a more than decent total, even more so as the first three overs of the West Indies’ reply went by three, two and one, while Reece Topley was responsible for taking two wickets, catching Brandon King. , whose half-century made him the standout batsman of the opening encounter, hitting the second ball of the innings and brilliantly shutting out Shai Hope in her next over.

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When Bravo, Kieron Pollard and then Odean Smith went down shortly after the halfway point in the West Indies leg, leaving them 65 for seven, another comprehensive defeat seemed likely. But that was before Shepherd made his dramatic intervention. Suddenly it was raining sixes, Shepherd hit Dawson over midwicket and then, three balls later, sent the ball spinning over the Garfield Sobers Pavilion.

Fabian Allen’s dismissal in the over 16, driving Tom Banton into a deep square leg back, seemed likely to deplete the batting side’s momentum, but Hosein ratcheted it up. In 14 previous T20 internationals, his highest score had been six; here he hit a ridiculous 16-ball 44. At the start of Saqib Mahmood’s final over the West Indies, he needed a hilariously unlikely 30 runs, but two wides, two fours and three sixes later, it was England’s bowling game that seemed comical, and the home team had been beaten. brilliantly, excitingly and very nervously.

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