England climb off the canvas to level series with one-run victory

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England climb off the canvas to level series with one-run victory
© Getty Images Moeen Ali claimed a T20I career-best 3-24 © Getty Images

England 171 for 8 (Roy 45, Moeen 31, Holder 2-25) beat West Indies 170 for 8 (Shepherd 44*, Hosein 44*, Moeen 3-24) by 1 run

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England climbed off the canvas in Bridgetown and narrowly survived a battering by West Indies’ ninth-wicket pair to level the T20I series with a one-run victory.

The home side were 98 for 8 and needing 74 to win from 29 balls, only for Romario Shepherd and Akeal Hosein‘s extraordinary onslaught to leave hearts in mouths right to the final delivery.

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Asked to bat first after Kieron Pollard again won the toss, England started cautiously – as might befit a team which had been 49 for 7 before barely scraping into three figures the previous afternoon. Jason Roy eventually opened up to lash 45 from 31 balls, while his stand of 61 in 6.2 overs with Moeen Ali gave England a platform.

Despite losing 3 for 15 in the space of 13 deliveries, the tourists kept hammering away, Chris Jordan again proving effective on his old stomping ground after being promoted to No. 7.

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In the chase, West Indies quickly came unstuck. Reece Topley, almost six years after his previous appearance, claimed a wicket with his second legitimate delivery and then effected a superb run-out in his follow through to leave West Indies 7 for 2.

Nicholas Pooran and Darren Bravo repaired some of the damage but at 33 for 2 at the end of the powerplay, the required rate was already approaching ten an over.

Although a fresh surface offered better value for shot-making, the pressure soon told. Moeen claimed three wickets and Adil Rashid two as England’s spinners kept the screws on during the middle overs, West Indies lurching from 47 for 2 to 65 for 7.

Although the tail wagged vigorously, with Shepherd and Hosein’s late assault serving up a reminder of England’s death-bowling woes, they had been left with (just) too much catching up to do.

Victory finally gave England’s supporters something to savour amid a gruelling winter across formats and continents. It had been almost three months since they beat Sri Lanka in Sharjah at the T20 World Cup, with the seven defeats and a draw from eight subsequent fixtures encompassing a semi-final exit, another Ashes disaster and then Saturday’s nine-wicket hammering.

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