England collapse in T20 defeat as West Indies pile on misery

England drew a line in the sand after the World Cup and the ODI series here waving a less than fond farewell to a 50-overs game that has brought misery this winter. But Jos Buttler’s men found the grass no greener on the other side in their more favoured T20 format slipping to a first defeat, by four wickets, in the five match series.

England will expect to be able to bounce back in Grenada with leg-spinning duo Rehan Ahmed and Adil Rashid impressively taking 5-64 between them as West Indies chased down 171 with 11 balls to spare. But if they are to do so they will need a better performance with the bat than here at the Kensington Oval where after establishing a strong bridgehead they collapsed.

“From the position we were in at halfway at 110-2 to only end up with 171 is definitely an area we can improve on and we need to find a way to find 20 or 30 more runs in that phase which would have been a really good score on that wicket.”

With West Indies scoring 14 sixes to England’s six it is clear that Buttler’s men need to find a way to limit their power as well before the second T20 in Grenada on Thursday. Yet in Phil Salt and the two leg spinners, Adil Rashid taking his 100th T20 wicket on his 100th T20 appearance, Buttler was keen to pick positives.

Losing the toss was another handicap given the dew that formed in the second innings but despite that Salt and Buttler got England off to a perfect start rattling along to 77 in six overs.

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It was a free flowing display, particularly from Salt who hit six boundaries in a 20-ball 40 before he was dismissed, Shimron Hetmyer juggling a catch over the ropes on the deep midwicket boundary. Will Jacks came and went for a quickfire 17 out to a superb diving catch from Brandon King.

But after Buttler’s scratchy innings came to an end, holing out to Hetmyer on the rope in the 11th over, England collapsed like a house of cards. Harry Brook took a big swing and edged Jason Holder behind, Ben Duckett’s attempted ramp went straight to short third man leaving England five down and wobbling.

Liam Livingstone and Sam Curran steadied things but when the former had hit the accelerator hitting two sixes off Holder at the end of the 17th, their 36 run partnership was promptly ended. England’s tail did not wag when Buttler needed it to, instead hanging limply with five wickets falling for six runs in 15 deliveries following Livingstone’s maximums.

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Andre Russell, on his return to the T20 side for the first time in over two years, proved key finishing with 3-19. Given the firepower in their ranks West Indies would have fancied chasing down a target of 172 and reaching 100 two down more so.

Rashid and Ahmed ensured they did not have all their own way ripping out their middle to leave them six down. But with Ahmed bowled out and West Indies needing 47 from 30, Livingstone was taken down by West Indies skipper Rovman Powell who hit two sixes in two balls to swing the balance their way.

Buoyed by the pressure release and helped by Russell muscling a couple of maximums of his own, the hosts raced to victory with 11 balls to spare. England now need an improved performance in Grenada in order to keep the series from slipping away.

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