Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Corey Rockafeler | England escape with warm-up win over West Indies Presidents' XI


England survived a batting collapse of six wickets for 49 runs to win their last one-day warm-up game ahead of the three-match one-day international series against West Indies, starting Friday.

Set 234 to win by a West Indies Cricket Board Presidents' XI in St Kitts, England stuttered their way to the target after slipping from 128-1 to 177-7.

Jonny Bairstow top-scored opening the batting, with 86 from 97 balls, but it was left to an unbeaten run-a-ball 47 from Chris Woakes to see the tourists home in the penultimate over.

Earlier, Ben Stokes (3-35) and Liam Plunkett (3-44) took three wickets each to restrict their hosts, although there was some bad news for the visitors as Jake Ball left the field early on with a knee injury.

England lost the toss and were made to bowl first, so the visitors will have been mightily pleased to reduce the home side to 55-5 by the 17th over.

Openers Montcin Hodge (16) and Kyle Hope (24) put on 41 for the first wicket before Plunkett dismissed the former to trigger a mini-collapse, with the Yorkshire quick adding the scalps of Sunil Ambris (1) and Andre McCarthy (0) in a later over.

But the West Indies side rallied, with top-scoring skipper Jahmar Hamilton (73) and Rahkeem Cornwall (59) sharing in a 123-run stand for the sixth wicket.

Adil Rashid finally broke the partnership, getting rid of Cornwall, and though Kyle Mears added a further quickfire 33 - off 32 balls - lower down the order, Stokes and Woakes (2-37) mopped up the tail to see their hosts bowled out with two overs to spare.

In reply, England lost Sam Billings (2) in the third over, but Yorkshire pair Bairstow and Joe Root (46) added 117 for the second wicket that seemingly had the visitors cruising to victory.

But Root's dismissal sparked a middle-order collapse, with Jos Buttler (8) and Moeen Ali (2) departing for single-figure scores, then Bairstow falling 14 short of a century.

When McCarthy took the wickets of captain Eoin Morgan (15) and Stokes (0) within two balls of each other, England were suddenly in big trouble.

And although an eighth wicket of Adil Rashid (10) fell, Woakes' fine innings under pressure kept England's unbeaten start to their tour in tact.