By Jawad Hussain
KARACHI, March 2, 2019 (SNN247.com) – Oshane Thomas achieved his maiden five-wicket haul to inspire the West Indies to a brutal seven wickets triumph over England in the fifth One Day International at Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, Saint Lucia on Saturday evening.
The victory in the last One-dayer helped the West Indies to square the five-match series 2-2 as the third fixture of the series at St. George’s Park fell prey to an inclement weather on February 25, 2019.
The clinical victory was scripted by an impressive spell of fast bowling on a bouncy pitch by Oshane Thomas and a brutal half-century by Chris Gayle which completely outplayed England in a grand fashion.
English batsmen failed to cope up with the bounce of the pitch at Gros Islet and the whole team was back in the pavilion for a paltry total of 10/113 in just 28.1 overs. Most of the batsmen got the starts but none of them took the responsibility to stay in the middle and dig in, which result in their dismal downfall.
The carnage started in the third over when Sheldon Cottrell got the better of Jonny Bairstow (11 runs from 11 balls – 2 fours). Joe Root (1 runs from 2 balls) soon followed the opener in the hut as his opposite number Jason Holder got the top edge of his bat which flew right into the lap of the third-man fielder.
England needed a big partnership to resurrect the innings from the initial double blow. English skipper Eoin Morgan (18 runs from 22 balls – 3 fours) and Alex Hales (23 runs from 35 balls – 4 fours) joined forces for a 39-run partnership. However, before the association could become a big problem for the West Indies, Carlos Brathwaite got rid of Alex Hales. England looked in all sorts of problems at 3/57.
Jos Buttler (23 runs from 36 balls – 1 four) and Moeen Ali (12 runs from 25 balls – 1 four) also got the starts but failed to prolong their existence in the middle. England lost half the side at 88 runs on the board and started praying for a miracle to bail them out of the hole.
It wasn’t to be the case. When England’s total reached the Nelsons, Oshane Thomas came on his own as he inflicted one of the worst collapses in England’s recent history. England were bowled out for a paltry 113 runs from a position of 5/111. The visitors lost their last five wickets for just two runs.
Chris Woakes, Tom Curran, and Adil Rashid all scored a Duck, which gave the hosts an easy target to level the series. Sheldon Cottrell (1/23), Jason Holder (2/28), Carlos Brathwaite (2/17), and Oshane Thomas (5/21) all played a vital role in undoing the English batsmen who had scored over 400 runs in the previous game.
The target of 114 runs was never going to challenge the batting might of the West Indies. Chris Gayle, who might have made his final ODI appearance on home soil for the West Indies, decided to go berserk. The 37-year-old left-hand opening batsman smashed nine sixes and five fours to finish with yet another brutal knock of 77 runs from just 27 balls with a whopping strike rate of 285.18 runs per 100 balls.
Although John Campbell (1 off 9) and Shai Hope (13 runs from 18 balls – 1 six) failed to enjoy the Gayle-storm even as a spectator from the other end. Darren Bravo (7 runs from 14 balls – 1 four) and Shimron Hetmyer (11* runs from 6 balls – 2 fours) got the West Indies over the line in just 12.1 overs to complete a thumping win.
The aggressive performance by the West Indies in the five-match OD series against England has turned them into Dark Horses for the ICC Cricket World Cup which is set to be played in England and Wales this summer.