England round off home season with resounding win

Jonny Bairstow’s career-best performance and a sparkling 96 from Jason Roy helped England hammer Windies in the final One-Day International at Southampton by nine wickets to round off the series and the home season in convincing fashion on Friday (September 30). Bairstow once again stamped his authority on the opposition to ensure that Roy’s antics at the other end prove to be no threat whatsoever to his hard-earned spot as he remained unbeaten on 141 off just 114 deliveries while chasing 289.

The willpower of Bairstow was on display during the chase as he played second foil at the start when Roy was rampaging through with boundaries in the powerplay. Roy himself was a man on a mission after losing out his spot to Bairstow and for the second game in the running, he made the most of the opportunity presented to him by Alex Hales’s absence. Roy ferociously cut and pull through the course of his innings as his strike rate continued to be on the ascendency with the Windies’s strategy to keep bowling short to him proving to be futile.

The script was on similar lines to what unfolded at The Oval on Wednesday as the openers breezed their way to a century-stand. Roy, who moved into the nineties in quick time, tried to nudge one straight down the ground and missed the ball completely to become the first and eventually, the only victim on the night. Despite falling short of a ton by four runs, the 180 runs he made over the last two games is certain to keep Hales and Bairstow on their toes. With more than half the runs wiped out by the time Joe Root joined Bairstow out in the middle, it was only a formality for the hosts to bat sensibly and close out the chase.

They did exactly that as the middle overs were milked for singles and twos. The approach towards pinching those quick runs was stark in contrast between the two sides. While the Windies were happy to be strolling around for those singles, England’s top three were always looking to be active in order to fetch those extra runs.

After hitting one firmly down the ground to move to 95, Bairstow punched one off the backfoot towards the cover region for another boundary and followed it up with a single as the celebrations came out. He knew that his hard work and persistence had finally paid off. It was a typical Root innings at the other end as the skipper looked busy throughout and finished off the chase with a massive six straight past the bowler. He had to take a backseat for a while though as the crowd was treated to a Bairstow blitz for a brief period. He made the most of a tired looking Windies outfit by cracking seven fours after going past the three-figure mark

England would have been chasing much lesser though had the Windies not finished off their innings in style. Chris Gayle imposed himself on Jake Ball at the start of the innings after his side was sent into bat, but after smashing 40 off 28 balls, he failed to read debutant Tom Curran’s slower delivery and walked back to an applause from the English crowd, who realised that the cameo could have been his final outing in the country in Windies colours.

The visitors continued to build on from the momentum before Liam Plunkett’s reflexes came to the fore yet again as Kyle Hope hit one back at the bowler that was pouched one-handed low to his left. Following the departure of the openers, Windies’s run rate started to dip slowly as Marlon Samuels found the going tough yet again. Having not gone past 20 even once on the tour prior to this game, Samuels’s dot ball percentage was beginning to concern the dressing room. At one stage, he was batting on 9 off 31 deliveries as the spin duo of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid stifled him.

Both Shai Hope and Samuels failed to find the boundaries in those middle overs as the spinners together conceded only 78 runs in their 20 overs, which completed denied the momentum Windies had built earlier on. While Samuels finally fell to Moeen, Shai batted deep into the innings to register a half-century. After finally finding the boundary off the 78th ball he faced, Shai followed it up with three more successive boundaries.

But as Shai perished with six overs left in the innings, Windies’ hopes of putting up a fighting total faded away before debutant Sunil Ambris and Ashley Nurse turned on the heat at the death. The duo kept finding the boundary at regular intervals with Nurse finishing on 31* off just 12 deliveries. A total of 288 seemed to be decent enough for the visitors to have a crack at defending it, but with England chasing down the target with 12 overs remaining, the score seemed far too little.

England finished the series with a favouring scoreline of 4-0.

Brief scores: Windies 288/6 in 50 overs (Shai Hope 72, Chris Gayle 40; Liam Plunkett 2-54, Moeen Ali 1-36) lost to England 294/1 in 38 overs (Jonny Bairstow 141*, Jason Roy 96; Miguel Cummins 1-70) by nine wickets

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