West Indies v England: Moeen Ali inspires England win to level series

Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid high-fiving
Moeen Ali starred with bat and ball to lead England to a series-levelling win
Fourth Twenty20 international, Barbados:
England 193-6 (20 overs): Moeen 63 (28), Roy 52 (42); Holder 3-44
West Indies 159-5 (20 overs): Mayers 40 (23), Holder 36 (24); Moeen 2-28
England won by 34 runs; series level at 2-2

Moeen Ali produced a remarkable all-round display to lead England to victory in the fourth Twenty20 in Barbados.

Stand-in captain Moeen struck a brutal 63 from 28 balls as England posted an imposing 193-6.

The all-rounder then took 2-28 in West Indies’ reply as the hosts fell 34 runs short.

The series is perfectly poised at 2-2, with the final game to be played at the same venue on Sunday (20:00 GMT).

Having lost the toss, England started steadily on a slow pitch before Jason Roy capitalised on some loose West Indies bowling.

Roy hit three sixes in his 52, a fine effort from the opener despite looking out of sorts for much of his innings.

The bowling of Jason Holder and Kieron Pollard troubled England’s batters with nagging consistency before Moeen’s onslaught propelled England to their match-winning total.

There were cameos from Kyle Mayers, Nicholas Pooran and Holder in West Indies’ reply but in contrast to England, none were able to post a significant score.

Moeen’s magic inspires England

Roy’s 34-ball fifty at the top of the order set a platform from which his team-mates could accelerate, James Vince chipped in with another elegant knock of 34 and Sam Billings hit two sixes from the last two balls to boost the tourists’ total further.

But the magnificence of Moeen stole the show from them all.

The stylish left-hander was a joy to watch, the highlight being four consecutive sixes from Jason Holder’s third over – whose figures read 1-3 before the England all-rounder intervened.

England hammered 15 sixes in total and Moeen accounted for seven of them.

He was assisted by some inconsistent West Indies bowling – full deliveries sailed back over their heads, shorter ones were pulled ferociously into the stands.

But the fact that he was batting on a pitch that looked two-paced and offering some uneven bounce made his effort even more impressive.

And as if a match-winning contribution with the bat wasn’t enough, Moeen then went on to remove both West Indies openers with his off-spin, breaking a blistering opening stand of 64 from Mayers and Brandon King.

Death overs prove the difference

England players celebrating a wicket
England’s death bowling has attracted criticism during the series so far but here it was excellent

England’s batters pummelled 75 runs from their final five overs in the first innings as West Indies’ death bowling crumbled.

They bowled too short, too wide or too full and England tucked in. Moeen took 28 from Holder’s third over – the 17th of the innings – to inflict most of the damage.

The hosts’ batters then needed that exact equation – 75 from five overs – to win the game.

England’s death bowling has been criticised during this series, with former England bowler Harry Gurney saying it was neglected.

But Chris Jordan in particular executed his variations of yorkers and slower balls to perfection and halted any chance of a counter-attack, despite some monstrous sixes from Pooran and Holder in the middle overs.

England’s spinners may have taken of the five wickets to fall, but it was a tremendous effort from the seamers to restrict West Indies’ powerhouse of a batting line-up.

‘The death bowling was fantastic’ – reaction

England stand-in skipper Moeen Ali: “I thought we were good in all areas. We batted well and today we were brilliant.

“The death bowling was fantastic and we will take confidence from that.”

West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard: “I think it was a game of two halves. We can look at certain things. The back end of England’s innings is where we let it go a bit.

“It only takes one over of big hits. We thought 170 was chaseable but they got to 190. We screwed up in the middle of our innings, not losing wickets but being a little slow.”

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