News Americas, PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Fri. Dec. 22, 2023: In just 48 hours, the narrative of the cricket series underwent a dramatic transformation. From Tuesday’s electrifying, record-shattering display, the stage shifted to a tense, low-scoring thriller on the same ground, culminating in a nail-biting victory for West Indies on Thursday night.
Jason Holder (C) and Shai Hope (R) of the West Indies celebrate winning the 5th T20I between the West Indies and England at Brian Lara Cricket Academy Stadium in Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago, on December 21, 2023. (Photo by RANDY BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)
Shai Hope emerged as the hero, striking a decisive six in an unexpected yet spectacular fashion, with four balls to spare. His masterful shot, clearing the ropes at point off the second delivery of the final over, clinched a four-wicket win for West Indies against England in a gripping finish.
This series, marked by explosive batting displays and soaring run rates, saw a surprising twist in England’s fortunes midway through. Ultimately, it concluded with a 3-2 series victory for West Indies, reinforcing their dominance over England in their home conditions across various formats for the past half-decade, crowning them as champions once again.
Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell and Akeal Hosein of West Indies pose for a photo with the champion’s trophy after the 5th T20 International between the West Indies and England at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on December 21, 2023 in Tarouba, Trinidad And Tobago. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)
The atmosphere at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy was electric, with Shai Hope’s batting brilliance pivotal in securing the five-match T20 International Series for West Indies.
Choosing to field first, West Indies successfully contained England to a modest 132. The pursuit of 133 was a rollercoaster, as the home side went from a solid 95-3 in the 15th over to a precarious 123-6 with just two overs left, bringing the series decider to an edge-of-the-seat climax.
West Indies players pose for a photo with the winner’s trophy during the 5th T20 International between the West Indies and England at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on December 21, 2023 in Tarouba, Trinidad And Tobago. (Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)
In the pressure-cooker of the final over, delivered by Sam Curran, West Indies required nine runs for victory. They kicked off with three runs off the first ball, courtesy of Jason Holder’s edge to deep square. Hope then skillfully relieved the pressure, slicing the next delivery – a wide, full-length ball – for an impressive six, completing his innings with a crucial unbeaten 43 from 43 balls, and propelling West Indies to a 3-2 series triumph.
Rovman Powell, the West Indies captain, lauded Hope’s crucial role, acknowledging his importance on the challenging pitch. He noted that Hope’s ability to patiently accumulate runs was a key strategy for the team’s batting approach.
Contributing significantly to the win were Sherfane Rutherford, with a vital 30 off 24 balls, and opener Johnson Charles, who made a quickfire 27 from 22 balls in his first game of the series.
The victory was also a testament to some exceptional bowling. Gudakesh Motie, playing in only his fifth match, earned the Man-of-the-Match award with a career-best performance. His remarkable spell of 4 overs, 34 runs, and 3 wickets was integral in dismantling England’s lineup, including the dismissals of Phil Salt, Liam Livingstone, and Harry Brook. Akeal Hosein, another left-arm spinner, thrived in his home conditions, finishing with 4 overs, 20 runs, and 2 wickets, claiming Will Jacks and Moeen Ali.
Reflecting on the contrasting nature of the series, England’s Reece Topley acknowledged the phenomenal cricket displayed by both teams. He expressed enthusiasm for playing in what was effectively a final, underlining the aspiration to secure series victories for England.
West Indies notched their third T20I Series win of the year, following victories over South Africa in Johannesburg and India in Fort Lauderdale.