IT WAS a wonderful homecoming for Barbadian-born England cricket recruit Christopher Jordan at Kensington Oval yesterday.
Playing before his “home” crowd for the first time in his brief international career, the 25-year-old Jordan starred with bat and ball in helping his adopted country England salvage a consolation five-run victory against the West Indies in the third and final Twenty20 International.
Jordan hit four sixes in the last over from Dwayne Bravo, rushing to an unbeaten 27 off nine balls to push England’s total to a challenging 165 for six.
He then returned to capture three wickets for 39 runs and also took a superb catch as the West Indies, despite a fluent knock of 69 by Lendl Simmons in a 73-run sixth-wicket stand in 7.4 overs with Denesh Ramdin (33 off 21 balls), and a last-ditch effort by captain Darren Sammy, were restricted to 160 for seven.
It meant the West Indies, who had rested Chris Gayle, Samuel Badree and dropped Ravi Rampaul, had to settle for a 2-1 series triumph instead of white-washing the Englishmen.
Batting first after winning the toss, England rushed to 50 in just 3.5 overs but suffered a mid-innings slump after an enterprising opening stand of 98 in 10.5 overs between Michael Lumb and Alex Hales.
Lumb top-scored with a stroke-filled 63 off 40 balls, studded with nine fours and two sixes, while Hales supported with 38 off 31 balls.
But once debutant left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell dismissed both openers – accompanied by his trademark salute – in a second spell after conceding 17 runs in his first over, England dipped to 138 for six.
In reply, the West Indies made a disastrous start as local boy Dwayne Smith played the first ball by Jade Dernbach onto his stumps.
In the next over, his opening partner Johnson Charles, got a leading edge as he played across a delivery from Jordan and popped up a return catch to the bowler.
Switched to the Joel Garner End at the north, Jordan induced Marlon Samuels (15 off 13 balls) to chop an in swinging delivery onto his stumps, leaving the Windies at 28 for three.
Simmons and Bravo briefly repaired the damage, adding 38 runs for the fourth wicket in six overs.
The equation came down to 32 runs off the last two overs and after Jordan yorked Ramdin, who had struck four fours and a six in his first innings of the series, the Windies still needed 26 runs off eight balls.
Sammy, who was cheered all the way to the crease by the 10 000-strong crowd, completed that over by hitting two fours in between a wide to leave the West Indies with 17 runs to get off the last over.
But even though he smashed a six over square leg off the first ball of the final over from Jade Dernbach, the task proved too much after Simmons, who hit seven fours and two sixes in his 55-ball knock, was run out off the third ball.
Needing a six off the last delivery, Sammy was unable to pull off another miraculous victory as he failed to score when he reached at a widish delivery from Dernbach and only got his bat to the ball, which trickled out to point.