2:37 AM IST
CloseValkerie Baynes is a general editor at ESPNcricinfo
England 166 for 6 (Jones 55, Knight 42) beat West Indies 122 for 9 (Nation 30, Glenn 2-15, Brunt 2-21) by 44 runs
A quick-fire half-century from Amy Jones drove England to within one victory of a 5-0 series sweep in the penultimate T20I against West Indies.
Jones struck 55 off 37 balls to drag England from 45 for 3 to 166 for 6 in the fourth fixture in Derby, their highest score of the series so far, as Heather Knight’s 42 and Katherine Brunt’s unbeaten 25 helped to set West Indies an imposing target.
Another disciplined performance from England’s bowlers compounded West Indies’ struggles to find depth in their batting, with Brunt and Sarah Glenn claiming two wickets each as the tourists fell well short at 122 for 9 from their 20 overs, Chedean Nation top-scoring for them with just 30.
Windies of Change
With the series already lost, West Indies rang in the changes, bringing in Aaliyah Alleyne, Karishma Ramharack and Shabika Gajnabi for Afy Fletcher, Chinelle Henry and Shakera Selman as captain Stafanie Taylor explained before the match: “There’s no point having young players here and not showcasing them.” Alleyne and Ramharack are both 25 but had played just 12 T20Is between them going into the match, while the 20-year-old Gajnabi had played the last of her five T20Is against India nearly a year ago.
Alleyne played the first two matches of this series – although she didn’t bowl in the second and conceded 25 runs from two wicketless overs in the first. Her return to the fold looked inspired when she struck with her sixth ball, the 12th of the match, to remove Danni Wyatt, whose attempted cut sent an edge through to wicketkeeper Shemaine Campbelle. The resulting duck continued a lean series for England opener Wyatt with scores of 17, 14 and 11 from the first three matches. Alleyne then lured Nat Sciver, star of the third match with 82, into an edge behind and England were 22 for 2.
Ramharack snared a wicket with her first ball of the series, trapping Tammy Beaumont lbw as she tried to reverse-sweep and removing another dangerous England batsman for 27. Gajnabi’s only over went for 17 as Knight let fly, thrashing a six and picking off two beautifully timed fours to give England a timely boost.
Ramharack came in for similar punishment soon after, also going for 17 off an over as Jones joined in on the act with a sublime reverse-swept four followed immediately by the most nonchalant six over long-off as she and Knight brought up their 50-partnership off just 30 balls.
Jones steps up
Knight looked to be in fine touch as she raced to 42 from 30 deliveries and, more importantly joined Jones in lifting England out of trouble. But when she edged Shamilia Connell to Campbelle for a caught behind and then Sophia Dunkley – playing her first T20I in 18 months after replacing Fran Wilson – fell to a sharp caught-and-bowled by Hayley Matthews moments later without scoring, England were 112 for 5 and in need of revival again.
Jones filled the role to perfection, making West Indies pay after she had struck a Taylor delivery straight to midwicket where Lee-Ann Kirby shelled the chance with England 48 for 2 and Jones on just 2 at the time. Jones smashed Connell for another glorious six over cow corner to bring up England’s 100 and raced to her own 50 off just 30 balls.
She was joined by Brunt, who produced an excellent cameo of 25 not out from 17 balls, although Jones was run out after Brunt was caught ball-watching and missed her calls for a single as Ramharack fired the ball in at the non-striker’s end and Jones was caught in no-man’s land.
It was another step in Jones’ establishment in the middle order, after she was moved down from opener late in England’s T20 World Cup campaign, producing some handy innings in the 20s without being required to do much more. And while she had a fraught evening behind the stumps, dropping two simple skied catches, she could be proud of her contribution with the bat.
No reply from West Indies
Set their highest chase of the series, West Indies’ reliance on Deandra Dottin and Taylor brought them undone when both fell cheaply. Dottin, who had registered two half-centuries and again top-scored for her side with 38 in the second match, managed just 4 before she was brilliantly bowled by Brunt in the first over of this encounter. Looking to pull, the ball skidded on and decimated the stumps.
Taylor reached 13 before she was bowled by Glenn and, while Nation contributed a much-needed 30 from 25 balls before she was run out by Sciver to top-score for West Indies. But it wasn’t nearly enough and the tourists were left with a familiar problem of missing a really big score from the top order and lacking the depth to make up for it.