England hold nerve to seal thriller; take series 5-0

England celebrate a wicket. © Getty Images

West Indies’ tour of England has been underlined by a series of terrible mistakes through each game. The fifth and final T20I was no different for the visitors, as they went down by three wickets in a five-over dash at the County Ground in Derby on Wednesday (September 30).

While the issues in previous games have been around their catching or lackluster bowling plans, in the final game, it came down to two crucial moments that allowed England to wrestle back momentum in their favour when the game lay in the balance. Both momentum shifts had one common denominator – a Shakera Selman no-ball.

In pursuit of a tricky 42 in five overs, Heather Knight got England’s chase off to a splendid start with a powerful cut shot over point. But fast bowler Shamilia Connell got her revenge when she sent the England skipper back to the hut with her second delivery before getting Amy Jones a couple of balls later.

With England 5 for 2 at the end of the first over, it seemed West Indies had taken an early lead. However, Selman’s first no ball of the night allowed England to take control. Tammy Beaumont sent the next two deliveries racing to the fence, before she was caught by Chedean Nation at cover going for a third.

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Natalie Sciver who was watching as the action unfolded at the other end, tonked an important boundary off Connell in the third over to signal her intentions. Having added eight runs with Katherine Brunt, a mix-up between the pair resulted in Sciver having to make her way back to the pavilion. Brunt followed suit when she slapped a Connell delivery to Taylor who took a screamer at extra cover.

Suddenly, at 27 for 5 in three overs, with two young batters at the crease in Sarah Glenn and Sophia Dunkley, the match appeared in the balance. West Indies could smell the win – they were up and about.

The penultimate over bowled by Deandra Dottin saw both Dunkley and Glenn scramble for every run. They advanced down the track, moved around the crease and swung for the fences as Dottin zeroed in on the stumps. Their scrambling brought England eight runs, leaving them seven to get in the final over.

With several bowling option up her sleeve, in a surprise move, Taylor turned to the experience of Selman again. Following a long discussion about the field, and a little reminder from Sue Redfern regarding her issues with the line, Selman made her way to the bowling crease. A hurriedly scampered two off the first ball and a manic run outs off the second the third – Glenn and Wilson run out pushing for the second – left England needing three from three… West Indies were still in it…

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… But like they have all series, the visitors fluffed their lines when the pressure was on. For the second time in the day, with the game in the balance, Selman overstepped, conceded a single and handed England the game. The hosts thus completed a 5-0 whitewash, ending their summer on a high.

Earlier, having been put in to bat as the drizzle continued in Derby, Dottin got West Indies innings off to a promising start with a couple of mighty blows over mid-wicket off the bowling of Freya Davies. The second of those – that sailed over the fence – brought up her 100th T20I six, making her the first woman in the world to reach the mark. Davies, however, managed to finish the over promisingly, when she dismissed Hayley Matthews for a golden duck.

Dottin’s innings didn’t last much longer, as she was dismissed in the following over by Katherine Brunt. Sophie Ecclestone continued her good run, bowling Chedean Nation in over, and it looked like West Indies would collapse in a heap.

However, some intelligent batting from skipper Stafanie Taylor (15*) – including back to back boundaries off Brunt – and support from Natasha McLean (14*) meant the visitors were able to salvage the innings. The pair shared a 24-run stand – that was significantly boosted by a six off the final ball – to help West Indies to a total of 41 for 3 in their five overs.

Brief scores: West Indies 41/3 in 5 overs lost to England 42/7 in 4.3 overs.  PotM: Shamilia Connell.