Season ends with whimper after disappointing England fall short

West Indies 113-5 England 88

The Oval

That would seem to be that. Unless the authorities have hitherto clandestine plans for a couple of games in Chester-le-Street later this week, which is not entirely beyond the bounds of possibility, the season ended at 9.15pm last night.

It was the latest finish, to the longest season, in England, beating by a couple of hours the Champions Trophy Final in 2004. The second of the hurriedly arranged Twenty20 matches against West Indies was a grievous disappointment which England, unfeasibly, after a summer of high achievement, lost, as they did to the same opposition seven years ago. That too was a match they should have won.

Having lost no wickets in chasing down 125 in the first match on Friday, they lost all 10 last night in 16.4 overs in failing to pursue a wretched total of 113. When Jade Dernbach became the fourth run-out victim of the innings, striving to make his ground for a second run, West Indies had won by 25 runs.

By any logical reckoning, it was not the sort of match for which Twenty20 was designed. West Indies made 113 for 5, never coming to terms with the tired, turning pitch. Between innings it was easy to deride them, an opinion which began to subside when England were 26 for 3 after the six overs of the powerplay, was discredited when they were 60 for 7 at the end of the 12th and ceased to have any merit when they were finally all out for 88 in the 17th.

On reflection, England should have batted since they knew the pitch was worn and would only deteriorate. Perhaps they are happier at chasing but perhaps they took their opponents too lightly.

West Indies were, it seemed, hopeless and out of their depth. Virtually strokeless at the start of their innings, they never gained any momentum, though Marlon Samuels' 35 from 35 balls was ultimately crucial.

It did not seem important then that Graeme Swann, England's captain, opted to bowl only two of his four overs although the ball was turning appreciably and Scott Borthwick, the debutant leg spinner from Durham, bowled with real gusto and intelligence.

Still, an early night was in prospect. But doubts began to be sown immediately by West Indies' opening pair, both debutants. Krishmar Santoki bowled left-arm medium pace cutters, Garey Mathurin flat left-arm spin. They were immediately incisive.

Santoki accounted for Alex Hales with one that slanted past the bat, and then Mathurin fooled Craig Kieswetter. Uncertainty overtook England. It was shaken off briefly by Ben Stokes who refused to be cowed and hit a six over long on followed by a switch hit four.

All, it appeared, would be well for England after all. But Mathurin, a 28-year-old St Lucian, grabbed his opportunity wonderfully. West Indies were suddenly a team transformed and where they had been error prone and sloppy in the field on Friday night they were suddenly pouncing like tigers.

It was probably all over for England when Stokes was leg before, the sixth man out, although the runs-balls equation was never oppressive. Doubts invaded their batting as belief gripped their opponents.

Perhaps it was the not the culmination that England deserved, but equally they know this sort of thing can happen with a young team, average age 24, and with five players 22 or under. Stokes, like Bairstow and Hales before him, exhibited some of the right stuff last night.

This season may be over, but the winter one starts next week when England embark for India to play another six limited-overs matches. Their squad will probably be named tomorrow. Youth may dominate it.

The Oval scoreboard

Second Twenty20 Match

West Indies beat England by 25 runs

England won toss


Runs 6s 4s Bls Min

J Charles b Borthwick 21 1 1 28 29

D R Smith lbw b Dernbach 11 0 2 12 12

M C Bascombe lbw b Patel 3 0 0 7 5

M N Samuels not out 35 0 3 35 48

C D Barnwell c Hales b Patel 16 0 0 22 17

*D J G Sammy c B'wick b B'para 12 1 0 8 12

A D Russell not out 12 0 1 8 6

Extras (lb1 w2) 3

Total (for 5, 20 overs) 113

Fall 1-18, 2-24, 3-42, 4-64, 5-98.

Did not bat †D O Christian, G E Mathurin, D Bishoo, K Santokie.

Bowling T T Bresnan 3-0-12-0, S R Patel 4-0-22-2, J W Dernbach 3-0-19-1, S G Borthwick 4-0-15-1, G P Swann 2-0-8-0, R S Bopara 4-0-36-1.


Runs 6s 4s Bls Min

A D Hales b Santokie 2 0 0 9 9

†C Kieswetter b Mathurin 10 0 2 9 12

B A Stokes lbw b Bishoo 31 1 3 23 29

R S Bopara b Mathurin 3 0 0 9 6

J M Bairstow b Mathurin 4 0 0 5 6

S R Patel run out 2 0 0 8 6

J C Buttler run out 13 0 1 11 23

T T Bresnan c Mathurin b Russell 2 0 0 4 3

S G Borthwick run out 14 0 2 16 18

*G P Swann not out 0 0 0 2 9

J W Dernbach run out 3 0 0 4 2

Extras (lb3 w1) 4

Total (16.4 overs) 88

Fall 1-12, 2-14, 3-24, 4-44, 5-52, 6-55, 7-60, 8-83, 9-85.

Bowling K Santokie 3-0-17-1, G E Mathurin 4-0-9-3, D Bishoo 3.4-0-22-1, D J G Sammy 2-0-9-0, A D Russell 2-0-14-1, D R Smith 2-0-14-0.

Umpires R K Illingworth and N J Llong.

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