Shah leads England to win

Owais Shah produced a magical innings of 55* to give England the win in the second Twenty20 against the West Indies and square the series 1-1. Shah, batting at six, was England’s top scorer and saviour as the Middlesex man slashed and nudged his way towards the West Indies target.

The West Indies had made a couple of changes with two heroes from their previous win; Shivnarine Chanderpaul (sore knee) and Devon Smith (thigh strain) both unable to attain match fitness. Young Lendl Simmons and debutant Austin Richards came into the side, making for a very inexperienced top order.

That inexperience showed as it took Simmons eight balls to get off the mark and get the scoreboard ticking over. This situation would have been even worse if it wasn’t for Gayle’s ballistic start as he scored the first 33 runs in only 19 balls, the skipper taking a liking to James Anderson as he powered him for three four’s in the early overs.

Simmons never looked completely comfortable and was soon caught by Stuart Broad in the deep off an Anderson bouncer. Richards entered the fray and soon fell LBW to Stuart Broad, although there was a hint of an inside edge about the dismissal.

Marlon Samuels then joined his captain in the middle and it wasn’t long before Gayle brought up his half century with a six, off only 28 balls. The powerful pair amassed a partnership of 44 runs before Gayle top edged a Collingwood delivery into the waiting hands of Stuart Broad. The partnership was full of some lusty hitting as Marlon Samuels decided that straight was best and he launched two huge sixes down the ground.

Samuels was joined by wicket keeper Ramdin, elevated up the order after his heroics in a practice match but Paul Collingwood soon dismissed the set batsman with a slower ball as Dimitri Mascarenhas took a very good catch at long on, Samuels falling just short of his 50 but still scoring at a strike rate of over 200.

The West Indies lower order didn’t offer much resistance as Ryan Sidebottom picked up the wickets of Ramdin and Runako Morton while the run-out of Dwayne Smith was the highlight of an excellent fielding effort from England. Eventually the West Indies finished up with a very respectable score of 169, although they would have much preferred the tail to wag.

Matt Prior and Alistair Cook walked out to open the innings for England, both coming out of a very good Test series and it wasn’t long before Cook showed what a classy batsman he is, lacing two boundaries in the first over. Prior decided to take the same approach against Ravi Rampaul and almost cleaned up umpire Ian Gould at square leg. There was a small delay as the wicket keeper received treatment for his injured hand but play resumed quickly and Cook missed a straight delivery from Powell that took out middle stump.

Prior continued to bash the bowlers around but Rampaul got the better of him and knocked down middle stump. Jonathon Trott and Kevin Pietersen, two South African born batsman, played a few nice shots but both players were the subject of tame dismissals. Paul Collingwood continued to battle away but when he was dismissed with the score at 104/5 and 66 runs needed from 39 balls, most had given up hope.

Enter Owais Shah as he tore apart Marlon Samuels off spin in the 15th over to get the equation down to 40 runs off 25 balls, a much easier task for the English batsmen. He cut and nudged Dwayne Smith for two fours and five wides were also given away in that over as the tension rose and fans began to wonder whether England could pull off the victory.

Ravi Rampaul came back into the attack and conceded nine runs in the penultimate over, leaving England needed six from the final over. Chris Gayle lost his nerve and conceded five wides in the dying stages to gift the victory to England with the series being drawn 1-1.

West Indies 169/7
Chris Gayle 61, Marlon Samuels 42
Ryan Sidebottom 2-25

England 173/5
Owais Shah 55*, Paul Collingwood 27
Ravi Rampaul 2-39

England win by 5 wickets

Cricket Web Man of the Match: Owais Shah

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