BARBADOS: In a thrilling encounter at Kensington Oval in Barbados, the West Indies secured a series-clinching four-wicket win over England in the third and final match of their One-Day International (ODI) series.
The 21-year-old Barbadian, Matthew Forde, made a dream debut, playing a pivotal role in guiding the home team to victory.
The rain-affected match saw England being put in to bat and posting a total of 206 for nine off 40 overs. Forde, who replaced Oshane Thomas and was given the new ball, impressed with figures of three for 29. His impactful performance immediately put England on the defensive, claiming wickets in his first two overs and adding a third in his fifth.
England’s innings found stability through Ben Duckett’s resilient knock of 71, supported by Liam Livingstone’s 45, as they recovered from a precarious position of 49 for five in the tenth over.
Chasing a revised target of 188 off 34 overs due to rain interruptions, the West Indies faced a challenging situation at 135 for six. However, Forde, named Man of the Match, and Romario Shepherd (41 not out) orchestrated an unbroken seventh-wicket partnership of 56, securing the West Indies’ first ODI series triumph over England in 16 years and their first at home against England in 25 years.
Reflecting on his contribution, Forde expressed, “This is a dream come true. The wicket was a bit tacky so it was just about bowling the right line and length. And when I came in to bat, it was just about turning over the strike and getting Sheppy on strike as often as possible.”
England’s Ben Duckett and Liam Livingstone provided resistance, but Forde’s early breakthroughs proved crucial. Phil Salt, Zak Crawley, and Phil Jacks fell victim to Forde’s bowling prowess, setting the stage for the West Indies’ remarkable comeback.
Despite Phil Jacks taking three wickets for 22 runs for England, including dismissing top-scorer Keacy Carty for 50, Shepherd and Forde’s resilient partnership sealed the victory. West Indies captain Shai Hope, awarded the Man of the Series, praised the contributions of younger players, emphasizing the potential for the team’s batting group to develop positively.
England captain Jos Buttler acknowledged the team’s fight but expressed disappointment at falling short with the bat. He sees this as the beginning of a promising journey for the side, hoping to build for the future.