The West Indies blasted England aside in the final ODI of their five-match series to level the series 2-2, with Chris Gayle and Oshane Thomas in devastating form.
Thomas picked up his maiden ODI five-for as three England batsmen fell for ducks, while Alex Hales and Jos Buttler shared an uninspiring top score in the innings of 23. England’s hapless batsman could only muster 113 runs off 28.1 overs, with not a single shot clearing the ropes.
Player of the Match Thomas returned the spectacular figures of 5.1-0-21-5 (econ 4.06) as England lost their 2-1 grip on the series.
Led by the incomparable Chris Gayle, the West Indies raced to their victory target off just 12.1 overs, with Gayle signing off from ODI cricket on home soil with a terrifying inning that will live on in the nightmares of the England bowlers.
Gayle scored 77 runs off just 27 balls, slamming five fours and nine sixes, with all but three of his runs crossing the ropes. His astonishing innings came at a strike rate of 285.18 runs per 100 balls. After scores of 135, 50, 162 and 77, it was no surprise that Gayle was acknowledged as the Player of the Series.
‘Man of the Series, aged 39 – come on youngsters, what’s happening!’ laughed Gayle after the match. ‘At one stage I thought, is this going to be my last innings in the Caribbean for the West Indies, so I thought I’d go out on a high. We’ll get a bit of respect going into the World Cup.’
‘I’m really proud of the guys, it’s been tough for the bowlers but they’ve won us two games so credit to them,’ said Windies skipper Jason Holder.
‘The wicket was seaming around and I needed to make good use of it, with good lengths and stay consistent. I’ve learned a lot as a young fast bowler,’ smiled Thomas.
A three-match T20I series awaits for an England side no doubt keen to return home after losing the Test series 2-1 and sharing the ODI series.
As the World Cup approaches, England has suffered a minor blip on their Caribbean tour that would have dented their confidence but will, at the same time, have given them a reminder that they will need to be at their best to finally lay claim to the World Cup in July.
For the West Indies, the England tour has shone a light on a bright new generation who might, just might, have what it takes to clinch a third World Cup title for the Caribbean kings later this year.
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