Cricket

Ali breaks Windies hearts in rain-hit triumph

2017-09-27 22:23
Moeen Ali (AP)

London - Moeen Ali again proved England's saviour with the bat as they beat West Indies by six runs in a rain-marred fourth one-day international (ODI) at The Oval to go an unbeatable 3-0 up with one to play in the series.

England, without Ben Stokes after he was dropped following his arrest, were on course for defeat at 181 for five chasing 357 to win.

But Ali, fresh from his match-winning century in the third ODI at Bristol on Sunday, made an unbeaten 48 and together with Jos Buttler (43 not out) added 77 in eight overs.

By the time rain stopped play, with England 258 for five off 35.1 overs, they were ahead under D/L at that point.

Yet the match might have been beyond them had Evin Lewis, who made a stunning 176, retired hurt in the 47th over after deflecting a Jake Ball delivery onto his right ankle.

It was later announced that Lewis, who had to be wheeled off the field on a stretcher and went to hospital without fielding, had suffered a hairline fracture that would sideline him for at least two weeks.

Defeat was also tough on West Indies paceman Alzarri Joseph, who took all of England's wickets during an ODI best haul of five for 56 after coming in for dropped leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo.

Lewis's innings, which surpassed his previous ODI hundred of 148 against Sri Lanka in Bulawayo in November last year, was the cornerstone of West Indies' 356 for five.

Having been dropped on 122, he was eyeing a double century until his freak injury left him writhing in agony.

The 25-year-old Trinidad left-hander remained unbeaten, having faced 130 balls including 17 fours and seven sixes.

His innings was the fourth highest in ODIs by a West Indies batsman.

West Indies had been 33 for three after Chris Woakes's early treble strike that included the fourth ball dismissal of dangerman Chris Gayle following his dashing 94 in Bristol.

But Lewis, assisted by Jason Mohammed (46) and West Indies captain Jason Holder (77), turned the tide.

This match took place just hours after England unveiled their Ashes squad at The Oval.

England already knew they would be without Stokes - included in the Ashes party and retained as Test vice-captain - after his arrest in the early hours of Monday morning.

Stokes, 26, remains under investigation after being released without charge.

Lewis completed a chanceless century, off 94 balls, when he pulled Woakes for his 13th boundary.

Often billed as Gayle's heir apparent, Lewis - a far shorter and less muscular batsman - hit two sixes in as many balls off fast bowler Liam Plunkett, the second a magnificent straight drive.

He was missed when Jason Roy, running back from cover, dropped a tough chance.

Roy, only recalled after fellow opener Alex Hales was dropped together with Stokes after the pair were out late prior to the all-rounder's arrest, seized his chance by making 84 on his Surrey home ground.

His 66-ball innings ended when he was caught by wicket-keeper Shai Hope to end an opening stand of 126 with Jonny Bairstow (39), who fell in similar fashion.

Substitute fielder Kyle Hope, Shai's older brother, held a brilliant leaping catch at long leg to grab England captain Eoin Morgan's fierce hook.

Joseph, whose previous ODI best was four for 76 against England at Bridgetown in March, then had his fifth wicket thanks to a diving slip catch by Gayle, not renowned for his athleticism, that dismissed Sam Billings.

But Ali and Buttler, together with the London weather, combined to give England a 15th win in 16 completed ODIs against West Indies.

Read more on:    west indies  |  moeen ali  |  cricket
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