All Hales, no Gayles

On a day when the English weather held off long enough to allow a full game to finish of this forgettable West Indies tour, there were no Gayles but plenty of Hales.

England opener Alex Hales made the highest ever score by an Englishman in an international t20 to guide his side to victory, chasing 173 to win at Trent Bridge.

His superb innings was cut painfully short on 99, enough for a team victory, but not enough for Hales, who was obviously devastated to fall one short of a century when bowled by Rampaul.

His second wicket partnership with Ravi Bopara of 159 was also the highest partnership in a t20 for England, but neither of the batsmen could quite see it through to the tense finish. England needed just four from six balls when Hales was bowled, and Bopara (59) fell three balls later. It was left to Morgan (2*) and Buttler (0*) to see England home with two balls to spare.

Earlier in the day, West Indies captain Darren Sammy had won the toss and elected to bat. After his nifty fifty in the ODI at the Oval last week, the crowds were no doubt relishing their final chance to see Chris Gayle with bat in hand, in the format created for his flamboyant style of cricket. But it was not to be; the former West Indies captain out for 2, caught by Bairstow at fine leg off Finn.

The West Indies quickly found themselves 30 for 3, but were revived by a smashing 70 from Smith, who looked to have ensured a defendable total of 172 off their 20 overs. 107 of their runs came off the last eight overs, with Dwayne Bravo (54*) and Kieron Pollard (23*) demonstrating the strength of the West Indies middle order in this format.

But England, and in particular Hales and Bopara, were just too good for them. The West Indies were sloppy in the field at times, perhaps with one foot, and their brains, already on the plane that takes them to Florida tomorrow for a two match t20 series against New Zealand.

Their tour of England has been a cold and wet affair, and void of victory in any format against the host country. This t20 has perhaps been the best match of the tour, certainly the closest. Both teams can take heart from great performances with the bat in the countdown to the World t20 which starts September in Sri Lanka.

 

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