Moeen Ali hits sensational century as England beat West Indies to build an unassailable 2-0 lead in one-day series

England 369-9 (50 overs), West Indies 245 (39.1 overs); England won by 124 runs; lead five-match series 2-0. Moeen was England's hero as they rallied to seal victory in the ODI series

Chris Stocks
Bristol
@StocksC_cricket
Sunday 24 September 2017 18:29
comments
England recovered from a perilous position to beat the West Indies
England recovered from a perilous position to beat the West Indies

Moeen Ali’s explosive century set up a 124-run win that gives England an unassailable 2-0 lead in this one-day series against West Indies.

That the margin of victory was so convincing despite a brutal knock of 94 from Chris Gayle shows just how remarkable Moeen’s innings was.

In all the all-rounder struck eight sixes in 14 balls as he reached his hundred in 53 deliveries, the second-quickest for England in ODIs.

Even more astonishing was the manner that Moeen powered his way from 50 to 100 in just 12 balls – the fastest anyone has ever achieved that feat in one-day international history.

Moeen’s pyrotechnics helped Eoin Morgan’s side post a record ODI total on this ground of 369 for nine.

Even with the fit-again Gayle in such ominous form after recovering from a hamstring injury, West Indies still fell well short of their target of 370 for victory in this third match of the series.

They will now have to win the final two ODIs at The Oval and Southampton this week if they are to square it up at 2-2.

Even Gayle could not steer the Windies to victory

England had been looking at a total of around 400 at the 30-over mark when Joe Root and Ben Stokes’ 132-run stand was in full flow.

However, a collapse of three for 11 in 18 balls saw the hosts slip from 206 for three to 217 for six.

Stokes was the first of those to fall, smashing Rovman Powell’s medium pace straight to Evin Lewis at deep cover.

The Durham all-rounder’s 73 from 63 balls was a tremendous knock, containing as it did five fours and three sixes.

It’s just that even Stokes was upstaged by what was to come from Moeen.

Before that pulsating rescue act began, England also lost Jos Buttler for two, the wicketkeeper edging a fine Miguel Cummins delivery behind.

Root then followed, Cummins trapping England’s Test captain lbw to bring West Indies right back into this contest.

Root’s latest star turn was his 12th 50-plus score from 24 international innings so far this summer.

Root was in superb form once again

But his dismissal reset England’s ambitions given they had just four wickets left and Chris Woakes and Moeen at the crease with 15.4 overs left.

Nobody could have predicted the carnage that was to come when the pair guided their team to 276 for six by the end of the 44th over.

Their partnership at that stage was a very useful 59. But another fifty were to come in the next two overs, a passage of play that saw Moeen reach his half-century with successive sixes off Cummins.

By the time Woakes walked off for a run-a-ball 34 after hitting Jerome Taylor to deep cover in the 47th over, England’s seventh-wicket partnership was worth 117.

Moeen then went into overdrive, reaching his century with another two sixes in successive Cummins deliveries, his second 50 runs coming in just 12 balls during a run of eight sixes in 14 deliveries.

What would gall West Indies is the fact Gayle dropped Moeen on 87 at backward point.

Moeen finally departed for 102 when he failed to get hold of spinner Ashley Nurse and West Indies captain Jason Holder clung on at long-off. The damage had been done, though, England’s total now past 350 with seven balls of the innings remaining.

Moeen Ali was England's hero

Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid chipped in with some late-innings boundaries as England plundered 93 from the last six overs to leave West Indies chasing a record ODI score at this ground to win.

That’s certainly not what the tourists would have been expecting when, after winning the toss and opting to field, they reduced England to 74 for three inside 12 overs after the early losses of Jonny Bairstow, Alex Hales and captain Eoin Morgan.

Indeed, West Indies, powered by Gayle’s runs, were actually in a better position at the same stage despite losing opener Evin Lewis and Shai Hope.

Gayle had reached his half-century in 38 balls with a huge six off Moeen.

West Indies were reduced to 109 for three in the 16th over when they lost Marlon Samuels for 11 to a far-from-convincing caught behind dismissal on review, Plunkett the bowler.

Yet with Gayle still at the crease, the tourists had hope.

Indeed, the self-styled ‘Universe Boss’ was looking ominous as he moved into the 90s with three successive off Moeen in the 23rd over of his side’s reply.

However, he was run out four overs later, Gayle stranded short of the crease on 94 following a direct hit from Adil Rashid at midwicket.

This was a hammer blow to West Indies hopes, who despite Gayle’s fine 78-ball knock were still 194 runs short of victory on 176 for four.

Despite some spirited resistance that saw West Indies contribute towards the record combined 28 sixes for an ODI in this country, they lost their final six wickets for just 69 runs as England wrapped up a convincing victory, Liam Plunkett taking career-best ODI figures of five for 52.

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