It took the hometown kid to do it but England will settle for anything at present. After five successive Twenty20 defeats, they were propelled to a narrow victory here by Chris Jordan, Barbados born and bred, who was returning to one of his boyhood haunts.
Jordan, brought into the side for the last match of the series, struck 26 in the final over of the innings to ensure that England had a proper total to defend.
He then took two early wickets to make the chase much tougher and a crucial third scalp later when it had become easier again.
In between he held an acrobatic boundary catch, which is the province only of the most athletic fielders with the surest hands.
It was not quite a perfect exhibition since his last over, the penultimate of West Indies’ innings, went for 16 runs. But without him, England would have lost again.
As it was, Darren Sammy, seemingly in the T20 form of his life, needed a six off the final delivery, reached for a ball that would have been called a wide and England were home by five runs.
Whether it now sends them off to Bangladesh for the World Twenty20 with a spring in their step and hope in their hearts is unlikely but it was a desperately needed victory.
Perhaps it may be the more welcome for being so tight in the end but nobody should make the mistake of thinking that England have more than an outsider’s chance when they arrive in Chittagong at the weekend.
Their innings was odd – astonishingly assertive at first, then conveying the feeling that England were merely finding another way to make a mess of it, before being salvaged at the last.
Michael Lumb and Alex Hales supplied a cracking start, though it was notable that they were not confronted with spin at the beginning of the innings. With pace on the ball they were immediately more at ease and looked it.
This is not something that is likely to apply during the World Twenty20 when the spinners will be queueing up in Bangladesh and licking their lips at the prospect of taking advantage of England’s deficiencies.
Still, they will go to the sub-continent having at least rediscovered a semblance of form. Lumb was particularly belligerent and while he does not have the distance of a swashbuckler like Chris Gayle he twice cleared the boundary in making 63, his highest T20 score, from 40 balls.
The pair put on 98 for the first wicket and when they were parted in the 11th over, Lumb miscuing a drive high to cover, England were set fair for 200. But the middle-order failed to make any kind of progress as the squeeze was put on them.
It was wretched stuff and Jordan’s improbable late onslaught, which included four sixes – three over cover, one pulled over mid-wicket – was vital.
Jade Dernbach took a wicket with the first ball of the reply, then Jordan struck to leave West Indies at 28 for 3.
But with England nothing is straightforward. Gradually, marshalled by Lendl Simmons, West Indies closed in and when the rampant Sammy hit the fourth ball of the final over for six nothing was certain.Reuse content