Crushing loss for Windies after Ali’s assault
BRISTOL, England – A blistering 94 from Chris Gayle and a career-best spell from Miguel Cummins failed to top Moeen Ali’s third One-day International hundred and Liam Plunkett’s best ODI bowling that swept England to a 124-run victory over West Indies in the third ODI on Sunday.
The talismanic Gayle struck nine fours and six sixes from 78 balls to lead the Windies’ batting, but the Caribbean side were dismissed for 245 in 39.1 overs, chasing 370 for victory, at the Gloucestershire County Ground.
Gayle dominated two half-century stands with Shai Hope and Jason Mohammed for the second and fourth wickets respectively before he was run out going for a single in the 27th over with West Indies needing 194 from the remaining 139 balls.
None of the other batsmen could match the explosive batting of Gayle nor showed enough prolonged resistance to get the Windies anywhere close to their target.
The Caribbean side lost their last six wickets for 53 in the space of 55 deliveries with Plunkett starring for England with the ball, taking 5-52 from 8.1 overs, and Adil Rashid showing support with 3-34 from six overs.
The result meant that West Indies now trail 0-2 in the five-match series, following an eight-wicket defeat in the first ODI at Old Trafford and a no-result in the second ODI at Trent Bridge.
Cummins had taken 3-82 from nine overs and skipper Jason Holder snared 2-81 from 10 overs before Ali marauded the Windies attack for 102 off just 57 balls to catapult England to 369 for nine from their allocation of 50 overs.
Joe Root hit 84 from 79 balls, Ben Stokes made 73 from 63 balls, Alex Hales added 36 and Chris Woakes got 34 to beef up the England batting.
West Indies then suffered an early setback, when left-handed opener Evin Lewis was caught at mid-on off left-arm fast-medium bowler David Willey for 13 off the last delivery of the second over of the chase, after smashing the same bowler for two leg-side sixes off the second and fifth balls of the over.
Hope arrived, but was a mere passenger, as Gayle unleashed a volley of strokes to put the England bowlers on their heels and race West Indies to 73 for one at the end of the first Power Play – well ahead of the required run rate.
Hope too, reeled off a few rasping strokes to share 64 with Gayle before he was caught behind for 20 in Plunkett’s second over, the 12th of the chase, and Marlon Samuels suffered a similar fate four overs later to leave the Windies 109 for three.
Jason Mohammed came to the crease and a period of consolidation was broken, when Gayle hit Ali’s uncomplicated off-spin for three successive sixes in the 23rd over.
Mohammed brought up the 50 stand with a cut through backward point for four off Ben Stokes, as the Caribbean side continued to stay ahead of the run rate.
But the course of the match was ultimately changed, when Gayle narrowly failed to beat Adil Rashid’s direct hit at the bowler’s end from mid-wicket – and the rest of the batting collapsed under the weight of scoreboard pressure.
Earlier, twice West Indies had England on the ropes, but each time through inconsistent bowling and shoddy fielding the home team were able to wriggle free to post their fifth highest ODI total, as Ali reached his milestone from 53 balls – the second fastest by an Englishman – when he cleared long-off with Cummins for his eighth six.
West Indies conceded 123 in the last 10 overs of the innings during which time they coughed up five fours and nine sixes, and dropped Ali no less than three times, as he added 117 from just 77 balls for the seventh wicket with Woakes.
Holder had made the initial breakthrough when he held a return catch to dismiss Jonny Bairstow for 13 in the sixth over, but England continued merrily to reach 65 for one at the end of the first Power Play.
Two wickets – one apiece to Cummins and Holder – in the space of three deliveries left the English 74 for three in the 12th over, but Root and Stokes started the recovery for England with a 132-run, fourth-wicket stand.
Rovman Powell struck in the 32nd over to remove Stokes caught at deep point before Cummins returned to have Jos Buttler bowled for two and Root lbw in successive overs, leaving England 217 for six in the 35th over.
But the Windies let themselves down badly in the remaining overs in the field and failed to overcome the mountain of runs they required, though they scored briskly in the chase.
The series continues on Wednesday at the Oval before it concludes two days later at the Rose Bowl. (CMC)