IT WAS a wonderful home-coming for Barbados-born, England cricket recruit, Christopher Jordan at Kensington Oval, yesterday.
Playing before his “home” crowd for the first time in his brief international career, the 25-year-old Jordan starred with bat and ball in helping his adopted country England salvage a consolation five-run victory against the West Indies in the third and final Twenty20 International.
Jordan hit four sixes in the last over from Dwayne Bravo, who unwisely served up a number of slow deliveries in a rapid unbeaten 27 off nine balls to push England’s total to a challenging 165 for six.
He then returned to capture three wickets for 39 runs and also take a superb catch as the West Indies, despite a fluent knock of 69 by Lendl Simmons in a 73-run sixth-wicket stand in 7.4 overs with Denesh Ramdin (33 off 21 balls), and a last-ditch effort by captain Darren Sammy, were restricted to 160 for seven.
It meant the West Indies, who had rested Chris Gayle and Samuel Badree and dropped Ravi Rampaul, had to settle for a 2-1 series triumph instead of white-washing the Englishmen.
Batting first after winning the toss England rushed to 50 in just 3.5 overs but suffered a mid-innings slump after an enterprising opening stand of 98 in 10.5 overs between Michael Lumb and Alex Hales.
Lumb top-scored with a stroke-filled 63 off 40 balls, studded with nine fours and two sixes, while Hales supported with 38 off 31 balls.
But once debutant left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell dismissed both openers in a second spell and gave his trademark army salute, after conceding 17 runs in his first over, England dipped to 138 for six.
Off-spinner Sunil Narine accounted for captain Eoin Morgan for 18 while left-arm seamer Krishmar Santokie sent back wicket-keeper Jos Buttler (three) and Ben Stokes for a first-ball “duck” in the same over.
Santokie also ran out Moeen Ali for three but Jordan gave the innings a final flourish. He lifted Bravo between extra cover and long off for sixes and pulled a short ball onto the scoreboard for a third consecutive six, before hoisting the final ball wide of long-off for another maximum.
In reply, the West Indies made a disastrous start as local boy Dwayne Smith played the first ball by Jade Dernbach onto his stumps.
In the next over, his opening partner Johnson Charles got a leading edge as he played across a delivery from Jordan and popped up a return catch to the bowler.
Switched to the Joel Garner End at the north, Jordan induced Marlon Samuels (15 off 13 balls) to chop an in swinging delivery onto his stumps, leaving the Windies 28 for three.
Simmons and Bravo briefly repaired the damage, adding 38 runs for the fourth wicket in six overs.
But medium pacer Ravi Bopara, coming on with the Windies on 66 for three, needing exactly 100 runs in the last 10 overs, made a crucial double strike, removing Bravo and Andre Russell, who was again sent in ahead of Ramdin, in his first over.
Jordan was in the picture again, running around to his left from mid-wicket to pouch a tame pull from Bravo, who made 16, while Russell miscued a pull off Bopara for Morgan to take a simple catch in the covers.
Ramdin was quickly into his stride, pulling Bopara for a six over forward square, while Simmons cut the same bowler for boundaries in the 12th over which cost 16 runs.
When Jordan returned for a second spell, Simmons duly reached his 50 off 43 balls by scooping a full length delivery to the fine leg boundary.
With 53 required from the last four overs, Simmons slashed Dernbach past point for four to start the over and then hit the penultimate ball for a six into the Greenidge and Haynes Stand at mid wicket.
It meant the Windies required 40 runs from 18 balls, but Bopara only conceded a solitary boundary in his final over, which cost eight runs.
The equation came down to 32 runs off the last two overs, and after Jordan yorked Ramdin, who had struck four fours and a six in his first innings of the series, the Windies still needed 26 runs off eight balls.
Sammy, who was cheered all the way to the crease by the 10,000-strong crowd, completed that over by hitting two fours to leave the West Indies with 17 runs to get off the last over.
But even though he smashed a six over square leg off the first ball of the final over from Dernbach, the task proved too much after Simmons, who hit seven fours and two sixes in his 55-ball knock, was run out off the third ball.
Needing a six off the last delivery, Sammy was unable to pull off another miraculous victory as he failed to score when he reached at a widish delivery from Dernbach and only got his bat to the ball which trickled out to point.