West Indies v England: fifth ODI – live!

Welcome to the Isle of Madness. Gros Islet is playing that role today, after other Caribbean locations have filled in over the past couple of weeks. By which I mean, we’re about to finish off one of the most extraordinary One-Day International series that the format has seen. Three matches have been successfully staged, and a total of 2083 runs have been plundered in just under 295 overs.

It has been carnage. Absurdity. Scores of well over 300 being chased, and over 400 being nearly chased. Two centuries to Chris Gayle, who made a comeback in the format, announced a retirement, and then suggested he might come out of retirement before having gone into it. Hundreds to anyone who wants one, really. Morgan, Buttler, Root, Hetmyer, Roy. Eleven of the top 14 run-scorers in the series have a strike rate of over 100. We are all living in Run City.

In the fourth match, Jos Buttler made 150 from 77 balls. At the same time, across the world in a T20 International in Vizag, Glenn Maxwell for Australia was making a matchwinning 113 not out from 55 against India. The pair’s bat sponsor Kookaburra made a mash-up of their faces and suggested fusing them into one. The only logical name for this character would be: Gloss Batwell. The shiniest and the best. With the World Cup approaching, batting is reaching its evolutionary peak.

But that doesn’t mean, as per the complaints of some, that bowling is now pointless and useless. To the contrary: even during these run-fests, the bowlers who have been able to produce an economical spell, to slow the damage, to draw a mistake, have still turned matches. The West Indies would have chased 418 if Adil Rashid hadn’t been good enough to knock them over right at the end. And amongst the frenzy, England got bowled out for 263 in Bridgetown to lose.

Which brings us to the last part of the equation. The series score is 1-2, with one game washed out. Meaning that England can win it if they win today, or West Indies can square it up at their final attempt. All to play for, all the momentum in the world behind both teams, each believing they can do incredible things. Because they already have. We’ve got one more episode in this drama. Let’s see how it ends.


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