King, Powell and spinners shine as West Indies go two-up

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While King batted through the innings, Powell struck a rapid fifty at the death.
While King batted through the innings, Powell struck a rapid fifty at the death. © AFP

West Indies put themselves one win away from completing twin series wins over England with victory at Grenada in the second T20I. The 10-run margin against the world champions was eventually comfortable but not without an early hiccup as the hosts slipped to 54/4 after being inserted into bat first. Brandon King and Rovman Powell blitzed half-centuries to take the score towards 180 before the spinners put the brakes on England's aspirations in the second half of the innings.

Rashid, Rehan trip up Windies top-order

By all accounts, West Indies made a decent start to the game after being asked to bat by Jos Buttler, the powerplay yielding 48 runs for the loss of Kyle Mayers. However, England, who had the returning Moeen Ali operate inside the fielding restrictions, produced 18 dot-balls. If wickets had eluded their efforts in the powerplay, the spin twins - Adil Rashid and Rehan Ahmed - atoned for that miss in a post-powerplay phase of excellent spin bowling.

The experienced Rashid struck with his third ball when he had Nicholas Pooran miscue a slog-sweep. The protegee Rehan matched him from the other end when his googly went through the defences of the in-form Shai Hope. When Rashid had Shimron Hetmyer edge to second slip in the following over, West Indies had slipped to 54/4 and in serious danger of folding for a sub-par score.

The King, Powell counter-punch

The onus was on the King-Powell pair to absorb the punches and throw in a few of their own. This they did to great effect starting with a 17-run 13th over bowled by Rehan Ahmed after the previous three overs had cumulatively brought the same number of runs. A change of ends didn't work for the young leggie, who bowled too full and was clubbed for a six over long-off by King. Another four and a six for the Windies opener in the same over brought him a 33-ball half-century and his team some much-needed momentum.

It had the desired effect on Powell too. After nurdling around for just 9 runs from his first 16 balls, Powell smashed Tymal Mills for a six and a four before unleashing carnage on Sam Curran. The player of the tournament at the last T20 World Cup continued to be off-colour and was taken apart for 4, 6, 6, 6, 6 in a 30-run massacre. That gave Powell a 27-ball half-century and although he was dismissed right after getting to the milestone, West Indies had found the power surge they were looking for. King followed that by smashing 18 off Rehan's last over and finished unbeaten on 82 off 52 as West Indies posted 176, a total that didn't seem possible when Rashid bowled in the middle overs and finished with figures of 2 for 11.

Akeal, Modie tie England up

England's chase was robbed off all momentum by two left-arm spinners, Akeal Hosein and Gudakesh Motie. The former sent down three overs in the powerplay for just 19 runs and had Jos Buttler chipping a simple catch to cover. The latter came on straight after the fielding restrictions were lifted and bowled four on the trot for just nine runs. He finished his spell with the big wicket of Liam Livingstone, who after hitting three boundaries off Andre Russell, looked to keep his side abreast with the asking run-rate but perished in his attempts at long-off.

Between the two excellent spinners, Alzarri Joseph used his pace and hard lengths to squeeze England's top-order as both Phil Salt and Will Jacks succumbed attempting to hit him off his short-ish lengths.

Curran atoned for his insipid bowling by hitting a 31-ball half-century but all those wickets in the middle-overs had left England with too much to get in the back end. In fact, 31 were needed off the final two overs when Jason Holder sent down a three-run penultimate over. That meant, even scoring 17 off the final over left England well short.

Brief scores: West Indies 176/7 in 20 overs (Brandon King 82*, Rovman Powell 50; Adil Rashid 2-11) beat England 166/7 in 20 overs (Sam Curran 50; Akeal Hosein 2-24) by 10 runs




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