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ENG v WI, 3rd ODI Review: England gain unassailable lead after Moeen and Plunkett heroics

Moeen's sublime hundred and Plunkett's skilfull bowling helped England defeat a spirited West Indies side.

Liam Plunkett
Liam Plunkett of England walks off the field as he finished with figures of 5 wickets for 52. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

England crushed the visiting West Indies side by 124 runs in the third ODI at Bristol. They have taken an unbeatable lead of 2-0 in the series with two ODIs still left to be played. Moeen Ali entertained the crowds on a Sunday evening with a blistering century batting at No. 7 after the hosts were in a spot of both in the middle overs.

Gayle threatened with a rollicking 94

The West Indies chase hinged on a certain Chris Gayle. Till the time the Jamaican was out in the center, the daunting target of 370 looked well within their reach. But his run out at the cusp of his 23rd ODI hundred prompted the visiting side to fall apart and eventually got bundled out for 245 runs in the 40th over. Gayle’s 78-ball 94 was filled with 6 sixes, including three consecutive ones off fellow century-maker in the game: Moeen Ali. Such was the assault of the 38-year old that Eoin Morgan did not introduce his primary spinner, Adil Rashid until he saw the back of Gayle. Quite ironically, it was Rashid’s direct hit from midwicket which saw Gayle falling short of his ground by an inch.

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Rashid came on and wrapped the tail with his well disguised variations, finishing with 3/34 off his 6 overs. Liam Plunkett picked up his maiden ODI haul, playing in his 60th game. He bowled well and was smart in keeping Gayle quite by dishing out fast off-cutters to the big left-hander. Despite getting hit for 6 sixes in his spell of 10 overs, Ali bowled well giving away 65 runs in his total quota of overs which contained 34 dot balls. Chris Woakes was very efficient with the ball and returned with figures of 0/32 off 7. Skipper Jason Holder (34) and Jason Mohammed (38) were other notable performers in the West Indies camp. If they had wickets in hand, they could have been in with a chance in the last 10 overs of the chase. The late assault of Moeen, who got to 100 from 50 in just 12 balls, hurt them badly. As many as 93 runs were scored in the final 6 overs which was the difference between both the sides in the end.

England’s brisk start

Jason Holder had put the English in first. After losing Bairstow early, England scored their runs briskly courtesy the partnership between Alex Hales and Joe Root. Both added 46 runs in 33 balls to give England a great start but Hales’ dismissal in the 11th over pegged them back a little. Morgan’s first-ball duck put them further behind in the game as Stokes took guard with a lot of work to do. The left-hander sewed a brilliant 132-run stand with his Test captain Root. Both batsmen scored in excess of a run-a-ball and a score of 340 looked on the cards.

Visitors fight back, Moeen follows with brutal attack

The partnership took England into cruise gear but the visitors struck back by picking 3 wickets for 11 runs in a space of 17 balls. Both set batsman Root (84) and Stokes (73) were removed along with the dangerous Jos Butler. At 217 for 6, even 300 looked improbable. Moeen, along with Woakes, shepherd the innings along by playing percentage cricket. At the end of the 44th over, Ali had comfortably moved on to a run-a-ball 39 while Woakes was unbeaten at 28. What followed next was some extremely clean striking and an assault which left the visitors numb. Ali got stuck into newcomer Miguel Cummins and took him for 25 runs in the 45th over which included 3 pristinely timed sixes. Moeen, not only raised past his half-century after the scathing boundaries but also took England past 300 with five overs to spare.

The next over from Holder resulted in another 25 runs as Moeen again hit three sixes in the over, this time off consecutive balls. Normalcy returned in the next over which went for 10 runs and resulted in a wicket of Chris Woakes, who played his part really well making a run-a-ball 34. A couple of more sixes off Cummins took Moeen past his century, his third of his ODI career. It took him just 53 balls to carve out one of the most audacious hundreds seen in recent times, making him the second fastest hundred for an Englishmen. The 30-year old offered 3 chances in the 49th over and was finally taken on the third one. He received a standing ovation for his maverick innings which gave England plenty of runs to fight against the power of West Indies.

Rovman Powell was the most economical bowler for the visitors, returning with 1/38 off 8. Apart from him, everyone went for more than 6 runs an over with Cummins being the most expensive one, giving runs 82 funs in 9 overs.

Brief Scores

England: 369 for 9 in 50 overs (Moeen Ali 102, Joe Root 84, Miguel Cummins 3/82)

West Indies: 245 all out in 39.1 overs (Chris Gayle 94, Liam Plunkett 5/52, Adil Rashid 3/34).

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