Rovman Powell’s century and important supporting roles from his fellow Jamaican team-mates helped the West Indies glide into a 2-1 T20I series lead, following an entertaining 20-run success over England in Barbados yesterday (26 January).
The 28-year-old finished as top scorer with an impressive knock of 107 as the West Indies cruised to 224-5 to set the much-changed England team a formidable task.
In response, the tourists came close with a solid fightback by felt short as they succumbed to the pressure of requiring 36 runs off the final over.
Powell, who replaced St. Elizabeth-born compatriot Odean Smith in the starting line-up, ensured that he grabbed his chance to impress. Arriving at the crease at 48-2, Powell belted 10 sixes in his dominant innings that lasted 53 deliveries before being caught by Liam Livingstone running in from deep off Reece Topley in the penultimate over.
He notched his century in 51 balls, to become only the third West Indian – after Jamaican Chris Gayle and Trinidadian Evin Lewis – to have scored a T20I ton.
England made five changes with Moeen Ali elevated to skipper after captain Eoin Morgan suffered a quad injury during the warm-up. Sam Billings was taken ill, so replaced behind the stumps by Tom Banton. Fast bowler Tymal Mills came in for spinner Liam Dawson with T20I debutants for Harry Brook, George Garton and Phil Salt.
The hosts also shuffled their pack with the introduction of two Jamaicans, Sheldon Cottrell and Powell.
Left-arm medium pacer Garton took his maiden international wicket in his opening over to clean bowl Jamaica’s Brandon King, who again fell cheaply having been the hero with the bat in the 1st T20I.
Shai Hope made just four runs before he was back in the pavilion, edging the ball onto his pad with a lacklustre sweep shot that went high and into the safe hands of Banton.
Powell stepped into the middle to join Nicholas Pooran (70), the pair fizzing the ball all over the place in a 122-run partnership in 67 balls that was only broken after being caught by Livingstone off Adil Rashid. Livingstone looked highly delighted with his victim, having just been slaughtered for 26 runs with some iffy leg spins.
And Livingstone repeated the feat to catch Kingston star Powell off Topley. Fabian Allen, another Jamaican, went for a golden duck by being caught behind off Mills as the Windies set the tourists a mammoth target.
England got off to a solid start, Jason Roy (19) caught by former Test skipper Jason Holder at long on off Romario Shepherd with the score at 33-1 in the fourth over.
Banton was outstanding at the crease but lacked the support of James Vince (16), Ali (0) and Livingstone (11) until Salt appeared. But their partnership did not last long as Holder caught Banton (73), attempting another six off captain Kieron Pollard.
Holder took his only wicket, Brook (11) caught by Powell, with only Salt the thorn in the side of the Windies. Garton (2) was clean bowled by Cottrell and then Rashid (1) was involved in a silly run out. This seemed to spell the end of the England dream.
However, Salt kept rattling up the runs with aplomb and with 36 to win in the final over it was game on. Romario Shepherd sent down a wide then conceded back-to-back sixes from the first two balls. After some consultation, the Guyanese medium pacer sent down a yorker from around the wicket that surprised Salt to clean bowled him for 57 off 24 balls.
With the contest petering out as it was no longer mathematically viable for England to clinch victory, tail-enders Mills and Topley just did their very best not to lose their wicket.
The penultimate T20I of the five-match series takes place on Saturday, with the West Indies having seemingly turned a corner from their recent disastrous loss to Ireland in the same format.
Confidence is rocketing and after those fireworks the hosts are no longer so self-reliant on Bajans, even on home soil in Barbados. The squad has gelled and the Windies are back in business as a force to be reckoned with.
WI v England 2022
22 January | 1st T20I (Kensington Oval, Barbados)
WI 104-1 (17.1 overs) beat England 103 all out (19.4 overs) by 9 wickets
23 January | 2nd T20I (Kensington Oval, Barbados)
England 171-8 (20 overs) beat WI 170-8 (20 overs) by 2 wickets
26 January | 3rd T20I (Kensington Oval, Barbados)
WI 224-5 (20 overs) beat England 204-9 (19.4 overs) by 20 runs
29 January | 4th T20I WI v England (Kensington Oval, Barbados)
30 January | 5th T20I WI v England (Kensington Oval, Barbados)
1-4 March | Warm-up friendly (Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua)
8-12 March | 1st Test WI v England (Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, Antigua)
16-20 March | 2nd Test WI v England (Kensington Oval, Barbados)
24-28 March | 3rd Test WI v England (National Cricket Stadium, Grenada)
Remember to share this article on Facebook and other Social Media Platforms. To submit your own articles or to advertise with us please send us an EMAIL at: [email protected]