England in the Caribbean: Moeen Ali admits West Indies batting depth ‘scary’

Moeen Ali admitted the batting depth of the West Indies is “scary” after England withstood a late blitz from lower-order pair Romario Shepherd and Akeal Hosein to win the second Twenty20 by just one run.

England looked to be cruising to a series-levelling victory when their opponents crumbled from 47 for two to 65 for seven in pursuit of 172, with Moeen taking format-best figures of three for 24 at Barbados’ Kensington Oval.

But some bruising blows from Shepherd kept a flickering hope alive and even though that was extinguished midway through the final over, Hosein closed the show with three successive sixes off Saqib Mahmood.

Shepherd and Hosein, who came in at seven and 10 respectively, each clubbed 44 not out, the latter doing so from only 16 deliveries, as the Windies made the final result so much closer than it arguably should have been.

“Obviously the game was done with three balls to go but with Shepherd still in and the way it went down, it never quite felt like we were over the line till the last ball,” Moeen said.

“Even though they were six or seven down for not many runs, they were never quite out of the game, they’re such a dangerous team. They’ve got so much talent, so much power.

“The fact they bat all the way down to number 10 makes them extremely dangerous. For them to lose by one run, it’s actually quite scary, their batting line-up is very scary.

“We’re glad to get the win but we could do a lot of things better. It is a lesson for the guys. We know we haven’t even played that well there and we still won the game.”

Jason Roy had earlier top-scored for England, who lost the series opener 24 hours earlier by nine wickets when they were bowled out for 103, with 45 from 31 balls as the tourists posted 171 for eight after batting first again.

Reece Topley marked his first T20 international in six years with an early wicket and a run out and then – after spin twins Moeen and Adil Rashid had put the squeeze on in the middle overs – the left-arm seamer held his nerve in the penultimate over, yielding just eight runs to leave the Windies needing 30 from the last six balls.

Mahmood’s first delivery was called a wide while Hosein was left unimpressed when the second one was not and took any frustration out on England’s fast bowler with two fours and three sixes in a final over that yielded 28 runs.

“You’ve got to go through this to get better and I’m sure he’ll be taking this as a lesson,” Moeen said of Mahmood. “Hopefully he can learn from it but he’s got so much ability.

“It’s good for a young batter to fail a little bit and a young bowler to get hit because you can only learn from that. I’m sure he’s going to do that. Every single one of us in this team has gone through the same thing.”

While this five-match series is now all square with one win apiece, a gripping conclusion means the Windies can take more than shred of comfort despite their defeat.

Asked where the balance of power lay ahead of the next game on Wednesday, Moeen replied: “If we were 2-0 down, they would certainly be taking all of the momentum. But I think both teams will be pretty happy.

“We know we can play better and they know that they really put us under pressure here, particularly at the end. But for most of the game we dominated.

“They can take a lot of positives and confidence from this but we did win the game so they will be very wary that we are going to try to perform better. I think it’s going to be a very tight series.”