Debutant seamer Matthew Forde put in a magnificent in a Player-of-the-Match performance while lion-hearted Romario Shepherd once again proved his mettle, as West Indies tasted their first One-Day International series success over England on Caribbean soil in 25 years.
Scorecard here: Match Enter
It was a Saturday night of celebration at the historic Kensington Oval as the home side recorded an exciting four-wicket win to spark merriment in the stands. Chasing a revised target of 188 from 34 overs under lights in the rain-affected third CG United ODI, West Indies looked in danger of defeat when they to 135-6 in the 26th over, despite Keacy Carty with a stroke-filled 50 off 58 balls and Alick Athanaze with a stylish 45 off 51 balls.
However, the powerfully-built Shepherd flexed his muscle in an unbeaten 41 not out off 28 balls, in a crucial 56-run, unbroken seventh wicket stand with Forde who looked at home at this level with an unflustered knock of 13 not out as the home side sneaked home with 14 balls to spare under Duckworth-Lewis-Stern.
The contest was still in the balance with 33 required off the last 24 balls but Shepherd blasted successive sixes from the first deliveries off the 31st over from pacer Gus Atkinson which produced a whopping 24 runs, to put the game firmly in West Indies’ favour.
“There’s so much history in cricket it’s hard to keep up sometimes but any time we win, especially on home turf, it is very pleasing. We need to defend our home turf so it’s great to see the guy putting up these performances and hopefully, this will give some cheer to the West Indian fans,” said West Indies captain Shai Hope.
Making his debut on home soil, the effervescent Forde had earlier produced a stunning effort with 3-29 to restrict England to 206-9, in a game initially reduced to 43 overs per side and then further reduced to 40 overs following another break for rain.
Ben Duckett top-scored with 71 from 73 deliveries while Liam Livingstone chipped in with 45 from 56 balls, but England lost wickets in clusters and never really found their stride after being sent in.
Fast bowler Alzarri Joseph supported Forde with 3-61 while pacer Shepherd grabbed with 2-50. Left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie helped to dry up the runs in a clever spell of eight overs just 23 runs.
It was the 21-year-old Forde who blew away England’s top order in a devastating new-ball spell, taking the first three wickets to fall as the visitors slumped to 49-5 in the 10th over after being sent in following a delayed start.
He had the dangerous Phil Salt (4) taken at mid-off by Joseph with the sixth ball of the evening, got Zak Crawley (0) to glove one which bounced awkwardly to Athanaze at second slip in his next over before getting one to straighten and take Will Jacks’ (17) edge, wicketkeeper Hope completing a straightforward catch.
More tragedy followed for England in the tenth over. First, Harry Brook was run out by Joseph’s direct hit at the non-striker’s end for one, the six-foot, five-inch Antiguan pivoting on the follow through and throwing down the stumps with the batsman short of his ground in the hunt for a quick single.
Two balls later, Joseph rushed Jos Buttler into an ill-advised pull, the England captain holing out to Motie at fine leg off the first ball he faced.