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Jordan stars on homecoming to lift England

The Report by David Hopps
March 13, 2014
England 165 for 6 (Lumb 63, Hales 38, Jordan 27*) beat West Indies 160 for 7 (Simmons 69, Ramdin 33, Jordan 3-39) by five runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Michael Lumb smashed a T20 career-best 63 © AFP
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The last time Chris Jordan batted at Kensington Oval, the ground was being developed for a Caribbean World Cup and he gazed up at the stands as a teenager with the world before him wondering if he might play one day for the West Indies. This time, he was an adult in an England shirt and when he gazed at the stands it was not in wonder, but because he was looking to see where his next six had landed.

England, clinging to any encouragement they can find, will look at a feverish five-run win in a dead rubber - the series already won by West Indies - and wonder if they have found a World T20 talisman. An unbeaten 27 from only seven balls duly pocketed, Jordan followed up with the wickets of Johnson Charles and Marlon Samuels in his first two overs and then pulled off a wonderful catch at deep square-leg as Dwayne Bravo fell to Ravi Bopara's long hop.

James Tredwell old-manned his way through another parsimonious spell, Bopara conceded only 28 despite spilling 18 from an over, but thanks to another skilful contribution from Lendl Simmons, as ever strong on the cut, when Jordan returned for his final over, the 19th, West Indies were still in touch with 32 needed from two overs and Darren Sammy still lurking in the dugout.

Jordan had shown strength and vitality, now he needed to hold his nerve. Twice, he found his yorker, he conceded a nicked boundary from the next then sent Denesh Ramdin's leg stump flying to end a sixth-wicket stand with Simmons of 73 from 46 balls. But Jordan spilled boundaries from his last two balls. West Indies were still in it: 17 needed off the last over and Jade Dernbach to bowl it.

Sammy's flat-bat six left West Indies seven short with two balls left and set up a memorable conclusion: Sammy firstly beaten by bouncer, Dernbach then bowling a wide to leave Sammy needing six off the last ball to win the match, and then bowling what would have been a wide-and-a-half were it not for the fact that Sammy made the mistake of hitting it. "I think we still had a chance if I hadn't got a bat on that," Sammy grinned.

As the screams subsided at Kensington Oval, Dernbach said: "To be honest, we had a pretty clear plan to Sammy." He looked so boisterous, a much-maligned death bowler who this time had clung on, but it was hard not to laugh. England, regarded as no-hopers three-and-a-half hours earlier, now travel to Bangladesh knowing that with fortune in their favour they can beat the defending champions. Such are the small margins of T20.

It was Jordan's batting cameo that gave England the edge. They entered the last over at 139 for 6, an innings frittered away after Michael Lumb's T20-best 63 had given them a rapid start. They finished it 27 runs to the good as Jordan struck Bravo for four sixes, two over the offside, then two to leg. The hometown boy had come good. For England, it was payback time on an investment. For the West Indies, it was galling, an export they could have done without.

Jordan gained his opportunity when England rested Tim Bresnan and in one over he became a serious contender for his allrounder's place at World Twenty20. Even with his freewheeling finale, England's total was an average one for this ground - nowhere near the 190 they must have felt was in their grasp - but the pitch was the slowest and grippiest of the series and it proved to be competitive.

England's two Powerplays in this series had been atrocious: starts of 36 for 2 and 30 for 3. Lumb surpassed both those scores single-handedly in less than four overs, reaching 38 in only 18 balls. Sunil Narine's unconventional spin had led Ashley Giles, England's coach, to call for a sea change in attitudes across English cricket towards mystery spin, but Lumb recognised no mystery at all as he slog-swept him with abandon.

After six overs, England were 64 without loss: a rare luxury indeed. But England gradually lost momentum. Lumb's escapade ended against Sheldon Cottrell, a mighty skier which Dwayne Bravo claimed at cover. Cottrell marked the catch - and his first T20 wicket on his debut in this format - with a salute to acknowledge his days as a soldier. Cottrell's first cost 17, but he recovered to take the first two wickets, Alex Hales also succumbing, this time to a flat-batted pull. Cottrell saluted again.

England had lost impetus. They responded by promoting their most destructive pairing, first Eoin Morgan, who dragged Narine to deep midwicket, and then Jos Buttler, who launched another clever slower ball skywards, this time against Krishmar Santokie, whereupon Sammy clamped big hands around a swirling catch and fell backwards with the contented air of a man in love with his rum bottle. Santokie, no saluter, as his ear rings and jewellery might have suggested, grinned and blew a kiss instead.

When Ben Stokes fell first ball to Santokie, bowled by another deceptive slower ball which gripped back off the pitch, and Moeen Ali pushed blindly at Narine as if he had never seen anything quite like it, nothing seemed to have changed. Thanks to Lumb, England had bolted, but increasingly they had bolted like lettuce.

When Santokie athletically fielded off his own bowling to run out of Moeen, who would have made his ground if he had dived, it again suggested that England's domestic Twenty20 is not producing ready-made battle-hardened cricketers. Moeen should at least have risen from the earth covered in dust. But the sprinkling of dust belonged to Jordan and you could imagine the flashes of gold in it.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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