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Christopher Jordan stars in Englandís victory

3/14/2014

By Corey Greaves

It came down the last ball of the last over, with everyone in the stands on the edge of their seats and holding their breath at Kensington Oval yesterday.

A wide delivery by what should have been the last ball of the game had made a victory possible for the West Indies, and with their captain Darren Sammy facing the final ball anything was possible.

Sammy had fallen over chasing the wide, full delivery in an effort to maximise the runs but was unable to touch it.

Englandís seamer Jade Dernbach clearly had a plan to the hard-hitter and he ran in once again to bowl the final ball of the series. He delivered what looked to be another wide and full delivery. Had Sammy failed once again to touch the ball, it would have surely been called a wide, but somehow he managed to get a touch on it and it was over.

England had won the final game by five runs, though the series belonged to the West Indies.

Set a target of 166 for victory, the West Indies with a changed line-up got off to an awful start.

Dwayne Smith, who had been looking in fine touch in the previous two games, played the first ball of the innings onto his stumps and was gone for a duck.

This led to Englandís Jade Dernbach going on to bowl the first maiden of the series.

However, the West Indiesí early woes were not over.

Chris Gayle was replaced in the team by Johnson Charles who also fell early and the side found themselves in trouble on 4/2 in the second over.

Marlon Samuels, who was just starting to look dangerous, was also sent back to the dugout before the West Indies reached 30.

The rebuilding process was led by Lendl Simmons, who was first joined by Dwayne Bravo and then Denesh Ramdin to stem the flow of wickets and give the West Indies a chance at winning the game.

Bravo was dismissed by a brilliant diving catch by Christopher Jordan on the boundary in front of the Greenidge and Haynes stand for 16 runs.

Simmons made 69 off 55 balls which included seven boundaries and two sixes.

But with five overs to go, Simmons and Ramdin found it hard to clear the boundary with the run rate climbing beyond 13 runs and the dangerous, hard-hitting Sammy next to come in.

With less the two overs to go, it was Ramdin who was bowled by Jordan for 33 off 21 balls and the English crowd cheered the wicket, but then realised what it had done.

Sammy, who was later named player-of-the-series, entered the field like a prize fighter entering the ring, with two balls left in man-of-the match Christopher Jordanís over. Sammy dispatched the remaining balls in the over to the boundary, but was now off strike for the final over and the West Indies needed 17 runs to win.

Though Simmons was the set batsman, the feared batsman was Sammy who could easily clear the boundary, and with only two runs off the first ball by Simmons everyone knew it had to be Sammy to face Dernbach if the West Indies stood a chance of winning.

Simmons was run out after Sammy was struck on the helmet and they snuck a single, then attempted a run on the overthrow.

Another lifting deliver was sent down by Dernbach but Sammy was equal to the task and pulled it awkwardly for six.

West Indies now needed seven runs from two balls and the England captain came across to talk to his bowler.

The short conversation seemed to work as the next delivery was slow, full and wide of off stump and Sammy was unable to connect.

A six was needed off the last ball to tie the game, but a wide give the West Indies hope of winning.

However, Sammy chased the wide ball and hit it to a fielder at gully for no run.

The West Indies were put under the blade by the English opening batsmen who got off to a flying start in the final game of the three match series.

Clearly taking a liking to the changed opening bowling combination, the visitors brought up their half century in the fourth over with a healthy run rate of 13 runs per over after winning the toss and electing to bat.

The more aggressive of the two batsmen, Michael Lumb, led the way with 42 runs off 20 balls which included seven fours and two sixes.

With the changed bowling attack, the West Indies opened with Kishmar Santokie and Sheldon Cottrell. However, Darren Sammy had to quickly ring in the changes with Lumb and Alex Hales hitting them to all parts of the boundary.

This forced Sunil Narine to enter the attack earlier than usual and he bowled two overs in the power play with no reward.

Lumb brought up his half century off 27 balls when he drove Andre Russell to long off. He reached there having struck eight boundaries and two sixes.

The run rate finally dipped below 10 runs in the eighth over but there was a projected score of over 180 at the current run rate and with 200 a possibility.

The 98-run partnership was finally broken when Lumb skied a ball off Cottrell and Dwayne Bravo made the call after looking around at the approaching Sammy.

Lumb scored 63 runs off 40 which included nine boundaries and two sixes.

The solid platform was wasted however as England moved from 98 in the 11th over to a dismal 138/6 in the 19th over, as the next 50 balls yielded six wickets for a mere 42 runs.

It was a brilliant come-back by the West Indies as Marlon Samuels and Sammy brought some normalcy to the bowling. The return of Cottrell, Santokie and Narine outside the power play overs also proved fruitful.

England moved from a position of scoring close to 190 to one of struggling to reach 150.

In the final over, however, Christopher Jordan, who has played for Barbados in the regional competition, belted Bravo for three consecutive sixes and a four to take 26
runs off the over and carry England to what looked like an unlikely 165/6, which gave them the winning edge.

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