Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali lead the way as England clinch series win against West Indies with one game to spare

England's big-hitting duo pulled off a series-clinching Duckworth-Lewis victory by six runs in the Oval rain

Chris Stocks
The Oval
Wednesday 27 September 2017 22:42 BST
Their stand of 77 in eight overs proved the difference for England
Their stand of 77 in eight overs proved the difference for England (Getty)

Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali helped England pull off a remarkable Duckworth-Lewis victory in the fourth one-day international against West Indies to settle this one-day series with a game to spare.

Eoin Morgan’s team looked dead and buried in their pursuit of 357 when they were reduced to 181 for five in the 28th over of their reply. At that stage, the hosts were 51 runs behind on DL after a brilliant five-wicket burst from West Indies seamer Alzarri Joseph.

However, Buttler and Moeen produced a scintillating stand of 77 in eight overs to flip this contest on its head and by the time the rain that eventually proved terminal stopped play after 35.1 overs of the chase, England were six runs ahead.

This was the second time in four days Moeen has proved to be a match-winner for his country following his 53-ball century against the same opposition in Bristol last Sunday. This innings of 48 from 25 balls was not as explosive but, alongside Buttler’s 43 from 35 deliveries, it ultimately proved the difference in this contest.

Jason Roy hit a quickfire 84 to get England off to a strong start
Jason Roy hit a quickfire 84 to get England off to a strong start (Getty Images)

The result, which gives England an unassailable 3-0 lead ahead of Friday’s series finale in Southampton, was harsh on West Indies.

They had looked certain to keep the series alive following Joseph’s career-best haul of five for 56 and the earlier blistering innings of 176 from Evin Lewis that had left England needing to pull off the third-biggest run chase in ODI history to win this match.

But they will be left to rue a collective lapse in discipline at a critical stage of this contest that allowed Moeen and Buttler to steal an unlikely win for their team.

The result at least gives England some good news after the relentless negativity of the previous 24 hours that had followed Ben Stokes’ ill-advised night out in Bristol on Sunday.

Evin Lewis celebrates bringing up his century
Evin Lewis celebrates bringing up his century (AFP/Getty Images)

Stokes and Alex Hales were both stood down for this match after the incident in Bristol and the latter returned to the city a day later to give police a witness statement to help with their ongoing investigation into the incident that has rocked England’s Ashes preparations.

It at least gave an opportunity to Jason Roy, who was dropped during the Champions Trophy earlier this summer, and the Surrey opener returned to form with 84 from 66 balls at the top of the order in place of Hales to get England’s chase off to a good start.

But his departure, edging Joseph behind, was the start of a sublime spell from the Antiguan seam bowler.

Evin Lewis is stretchered off after being struck in the ankle
Evin Lewis is stretchered off after being struck in the ankle (Getty Images)

England, 126 for one in the 18th over after Roy’s departure, were 181 for five by the 28th after Bairstow, Joe Root, Morgan and Sam Billings, in the team in place of Stokes, all fell to Joseph.

With rain forecast, England were well behind the Duckworth-Lewis target of 232 they needed to be at to win at that stage.

But Buttler and Moeen steadily clawed things back and somehow moved them into a winning position by the end of the 35th over.

To add to West Indies woe, they will be missing Lewis for the final match of the series on Friday after he sustained a fractured right ankle after edging a Jake Ball delivery onto the joint.

Chris Woakes celebrates the wicket of Chris Gayle
Chris Woakes celebrates the wicket of Chris Gayle (AFP/Getty Images)

That forced Lewis to retire hurt 24 runs shy of a double hundred. And even though he missed out on becoming the sixth man to achieve that feat in ODI cricket his brilliant 130-ball innings was the highest score posted by any West Indian in this format other than Viv Richards and Chris Gayle.

What made it even more impressive was the fact it came after his team were reduced to 33 for three following Chris Woakes’ dismissals of Gayle, Shai Hope and Marlon Samuels in quick succession.

But his stunning display ultimately came in a losing cause.

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