• Billings powers England to record-breaking win in St Kitts

    Sam Billings blitzed England to a record-breaking win at Warner Park with a brilliant half-century against West Indies that grants him Friday’s Play of the Day accolade, writes ANITHA MADIKIZELA.

    The Englishman scored a career-best 87 off just 47 balls to rescue the visitors after a slow start to the second T20I of the three-match series in the Caribbean. His innings shot England to 182-6 in their allotted overs, and they eventually won the encounter by a mammoth 137 runs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

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    Billings walked to the crease in the final over of the powerplay with his team struggling on 32-4. He and Joe Root (55 off 40 balls, 7×4) combined for an explosive 82-run stand before Root was run out by left-arm spinner Fabian Allen (2-29), going for a second run that wasn’t there.

    Billings chose this point to light up Warner Park with 10 tantalising fours and three towering sixes on his way to his career-best 87 runs, trumping his previous best of 55 achieved in Dubai against Pakistan in 2015. The swashbuckling right-hander was unlucky to lose his wicket on the final delivery of the innings to T20I debutant Obed McCoy (1-44) after smashing him for 22 runs in the over.

    The second innings was a calamity for the West Indies as they crumbled to 25-6 in an astonishing powerplay. Chris Jordan destroyed the home side’s top batsmen in an exhilarating two-over spell that yielded four wickets at the expense of just six runs.

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    The Windies were eventually all out for just 45 runs, which is also their lowest-ever total in T20I history. That measly score is also the second-lowest for any team in T20I’s, avoiding Netherland’s record of 35 by a mere six runs. Meanwhile, England’s mammoth 137-run win is the largest victory margin for the Poms in the format – drubbing their previous best margin of 116 runs against Afghanistan in 2012.

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    The final match will take place at the same venue on Sunday, with the West Indies hoping to secure the win that will prevent England from sealing a series whitewash.


    Photo: Randy Brooks/AFP/Getty Images