England avoid T20 series whitewash

• England 165-6; West Indies 160-7
• England won by five runs; West Indies win series 2-1

England won the final Twenty20 of their Caribbean sojourn by five runs in another squeaker that perhaps should not have been as close as it was.

In the end it boiled down to a repeat of the contest between the mighty leverage of Darren Sammy and Jade Dernbach, arguably the most derided and without doubt the most illustrated of modern England cricketers.

In the second match Sammy had prevailed with a series of blistering drives. That he came to the crease in the penultimate over was down to Chris Jordan, the local hero but playing for the opposition. He struck four sixes in the final over of England's innings to give them a chance and took a stunning boundary catch to remove the dangerous Dwayne Bravo. He also sent the leg stump of Denesh Ramdin cartwheeling.

It might have been better to have kept Ramdin in. Sammy immediately took boundaries from Jordan and got to face Dernbach with 14 needed from the final four balls. England changed their strategy. So well had Sammy hit near yorkers on Tuesday that they opted to set fields for the short ball. Sammy took one on the head and set off for a leg bye. Dernbach shied at the stumps, missed and although Lendl Simmons was run out for 69 as he attempted the second run, Sammy remained on strike.

Another bouncer but this one Sammy swatted for six and pumped the air. The field changed: England were looking outside off stump and Dernbach delivered a slower ball there which Sammy missed. Seven from the last ball. Dernbach probed the limits but was too wide as Sammy lunged and now a six would win the match. Once more Dernbach went as wide as he dare – too wide in fact – but this time Sammy launched himself at it comically and made vague contact. So no wide and England celebrated.

A win, even in consolation only, is never amiss. This was Jordan's match. You can take the boy out of Barbados but can you take Barbados out of the boy? A year ago, Jordan was playing for the island, albeit as an overseas player, so he knows what is expected. Quite what his Bajan friends thought as he put Bravo to the sword in the final over is anyone's guess. Mixed loyalties no doubt but a glance from Jordan towards the stand at extra cover might have reminded him of his heritage.

After an incendiary start, England had lost their way in the second part of the innings, until Jordan came to face the final over from Bravo. Two from the first ball was followed by a six drilled over wide long on and another sent over extra cover into that very stand, the striking crisp, the strokes authentic.

Bravo went round the wicket, but dropped short and Jordan short-armed him into the party stand for six more. He was beaten by the penultimate ball but the final delivery was planted precisely over extra cover once more before Jordan tucked his bat under his arm and marched off.

Given the nature of the pitch, 165 for six was a score England might have accepted if offered it before the start, but once Michael Lumb and Alex Hales had blasted their way to 64 from the first power play and 94, without being parted, they might have expected considerably more by the end of the innings. Certainly there was no lack of urgency, for once Lumb had been caught for 63 from only 40 balls (nine fours and two sixes in that), to give the West Indies debutant paceman Sheldon Cottrell a first wicket, Eoin Morgan replaced Moeen Ali in the batting order.

When Hales was then taken on the boundary, from Cottrell, it was Jos Buttler who came in. West Indies began to claw things back though. If the absence of Samuel Badree in particular had given the openers respite from spin, then Cottrell, Sammy, Marlon Samuels and Sunil Narine, all taking pace from the ball or spinning it, gradually slowed the rate, with Morgan going to Narine on the boundary.

When Krishmar Santokie returned, he had Buttler caught from a steepler and Stokes neck-and-cropped first ball by the most beautifully deceptive slower ball. Moeen Ali then ran himself out, and by the end of the penultimate over England had taken only 43 runs for six wickets in nine overs. Jordan it was who made the difference.

England's limited-overs coach Ashley Giles is not yet convinced his team are in shape for the World T20 in Bangladesh but was encouraged by the performance.

"We're not quite ready, I'd say," he said. "We've had one performance there with the top of the order, not a complete batting performance but I'd say that score was about par." © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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