Hales 99 sinks Windies

England

Alex Hales struck the highest Twenty20 International score – 99, to be exact – by an Englishman in a seven-wicket triumph over the West Indies in Sunday's one-off affair at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.

Alex Hales struck the highest Twenty20 International score – 99, to be exact – by an Englishman in a seven-wicket triumph over the West Indies in Sunday's one-off affair at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.

The Windies' choice to bat first after winning the toss was all set to ride on the back of Chris Gayle's return to the top of the order. Named in the T20I for the first time in 13 months, the hard-hitting left-hander failed to deliver, though.

Whereas he was quick to successfully pick the bad balls in the ODI series, Gayle chose a testing short ball from Steven Finn to pull. The shot didn't pay off, and Jonny Bairstow was at hand in the deep to send the dangerous opener packing for just two.

Finn did a good enough job at the helm of the attack, but fellow new-ball bowler Jade Dernbach copped really expensive figures upon his return to the fold after being released earlier this week in the wake of friend and Surrey team-mate Tom Maynard's death.

While Lendl Simmons and Marlon Samuels managed a mere 10 runs between them, Dwayne Smith and Dwayne Bravo were quick to pick up the slack.

The pair collected a fine 77-run alliance for the fourth wicket inside nine overs, which later allowed Kieron Pollard to continue the charge. Smith crashed five fours and as many sixes in his 54-ball 70. There was no hiding for England's five-man attack, which bravely forwent the services of part-time seamer Ravi Bopara despite Smith and company's blitz.

Bravo, meanwhile, powered his way to 54 not out and – later – enjoyed solid support from Kieron Pollard. Their collective savagery cost the hosts 71 runs from the last five innings. Again, Bopara's right-armers didn't enter the equation.

The right-handed Bravo's half-century and Pollard's complementary 23 not out pushed the total to 172 for four – one that seemed ample.

England, particularly Hales, begged to differ.

Craig Kieswetter fell cheaply and early, holing out to deep backward square-leg. His wicket, though.

Hales and Bopara, were quick to recover.

Offering measure and calculation rather than the brute force displayed by the opposition batsman, the right-handers worked through an outstanding 159-run partnership for the second wicket.

The combination was pretty on the eye, laced with classic cricket shots rather than Twenty20 slogging.

The stand took England the bulk of the way to triumph. Man of the Match Hales, though, didn't have the legs for a century. Instead he was bowled by a near yorker from Ravi Rampaul. Seeking the single that would have taken him to three figures, the right-hander played across the delivery instead of straight. The result had his stumps castled. Out one short of a ton, the opener fell to his haunches in disappointment in front of his home crowd.

Passing the 85 not out Eoin Morgan struck against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2009 was of little consolation for Hales.

Bopara fell soon thereafter for 59, with Eoin Morgan sure to clout the winning runs off the third-last ball of the match to ward off a potential cliffhanger.

Sunday's result left the West Indies without a solitary win at the end of a tour that brought them a two-nil defeat in the Tests and the same in the ODIs. Meanwhile, England will be well buoyed ahead of their World Twenty20 defence in Sri Lanka come September.

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