Bridgetown: A fine half-century and two crucial wickets by England stand-in skipper Moeen Ali helped the tourists defeat the West Indies by 34 runs at the Kensington Oval to level the five-match T20I series 2-2 here on Sunday (IST).
The 34-year-old Moeen (63 off 28 balls), who is substituting for Eoin Morgan after the regular captain suffered a low-grade quadriceps injury during the third T20I, slammed seven sixes, of which four were consecutive strikes off the bowling of Jason Holder, helping the tourists post an imposing 193/6.
In reply, the hosts fell 34 runs short, with Moeen capping off a ‘Player of the Match’ performance with two wickets, taking the series to the decider.
The stand-in captain strode out with England starting in a sedate manner, building on the work of Jason Roy (52 off 42 balls), who gradually moved into his innings after adjusting to slow conditions.
James Vince (34 off 26) also played a strong hand in the middle overs, before the likes of Liam Livingstone (16) and Sam Billings complimented Moeen, as the team scored 59 runs in the final three overs.
Moeen, at one stage 20 off 16 balls, unleashed in the late flurry, hitting six of his sixes in the space of nine legal deliveries he faced. After his dismissal in the final over, Billings (13 not out from four deliveries), enjoyed some late six-hitting of his own to put the tourists’ score above par.
West Indies were unbeaten in the Powerplay and strong in response, with Kyle Mayers looking in strong form early. He fell to Moeen for 40 (23), as did his partner Brandon King, who made 26 at less than a run-a-ball.
Spin was the key for England as Adil Rashid (1/28) and Liam Livingstone (1/18) joined their skipper, stifling in the middle overs and preventing a late fight-back.
Jason Holder (36 off 24) provided resistance, but it proved futile in a comfortable win for England.
Brief scores: England 193/6 in 20 overs (Jason Roy 52, James Vince 34, Moeen Ali 63; Jason Holder 3/44) beat West Indies 159/5 in 20 overs (Brandon King 26, Kyle Mayers 40, Jason Holder 36; Moeen Ali 2/28) by 34 runs.