England defeated the West Indies by 75 runs to tie their Twenty20 international series 2-2 and force a decider to be played on Thursday. Phil Salt struck an incredible 119 off just 57 balls.
Under the guidance of Salt’s aggressive stroke play and quick half-centuries from Liam Livingstone and captain Jos Buttler, England achieved a record-breaking 20 overs at the Brian Lara Academy, scoring 267 for three.
West Indies got off to a quick start but soon lost wickets and were bowled out for 192 in 15.3 overs, with England recording the second-highest innings total in a match involving all member nations.
England was facing a dismal conclusion to their tour after falling behind 2-0 in this series and losing the ODI series in the Caribbean, but they now have the opportunity to reclaim the series at the same location.
After hitting an undefeated century in England’s triumph against Grenada on Saturday, Salt continued where he left off, applying a decisive early onslaught to the hosts once England was placed in.
Jos Buttler, the captain of the West Indies, and Salt put up 117 in their opening partnership before the captain was dismissed for 55 when Powell caught him in the deep off Jason Holder.
As part of a quick 56-run partnership, Will Jacks contributed 24 from nine balls to keep the pace going, and Liam Livingstone made sure the run-rate never dropped with 54 from 21 balls.
After smashing ten sixes and seven fours in an entertaining performance, Salt achieved the highest total by an Englishman in Twenty20 internationals until Andre Russell ultimately bowled him in the penultimate over.
With the opening delivery of the innings, Brandon King was dismissed by Reece Topley at short third man after edging a ball off Moeen Ali. This was a poor start for the West Indies’ response.
However, the home team demonstrated that they were prepared for the difficult chase when Nicholas Pooran in and blasted 20 off the remaining overs Ali had bowled.
The runs were coming in thick and fast, but Kyle Mayers mistimed a drive off Topley high to mid-on, and Chris Woakes caught him on the second try.
After top-edging Woakes to the appreciative Salt behind the wickets, Shai Hope was dismissed for 16, putting West Indies at 78-4 in just the sixth over.
Although Andre Russell reminded everyone of his strength with five sixes in his 51 off 25 balls, Harry Brook’s catch of Russell off Topley sealed the victory for England.
Modifications please Salt
With the T20 World Cup taking place in the Caribbean and the US in June, Salt’s amazing form should help England’s chances, and he expressed his enjoyment of playing in the area.
“It’s absolutely fun for me. It’s a fun spot to explore,” he remarked. “The boys have produced the goods in the last couple of games and now we’ve got a decider to look forward to.”
Salt attributed his improved performance to a new way of playing the game.
It’s really fulfilling. It’s wonderful that I’m starting to feel the benefits of the mental approach that I’ve made to my game over the past six months,” he continued.
With 33 sixes in one day, Skipper Buttler was ecstatic about his big-hitting accomplishment.
It was “a fantastic win,” he declared. “You don’t participate in those games very often. It brought back memories of the Hong Kong Sixes. Extremely proud of the crew for playing with such guts, courage, and ability.”
Powell, his adversary, had little to do but prepare his troops for one more match.
“Give credit where it’s due,” he declared. “Phil Salt and Jos played excellent up front batting. These events take place. It’s a pretty fine boundary. We’re up against elite competitors. They will put pressure on you as soon as you perform improperly.
“It appears the boys enjoy a finale. We’ll have completely fresh plans and ideas by Thursday. The guys are just going to kick back. Sometimes all you have to do is give them room. It’s a mental game, and guys can usually execute once they have clarity in their minds.”