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Forde propels West Indies to series-clinching win over England

Cricket 2023-12-10, 5:09pm

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Bridgetown, Barbados, 10 Dec - A dream debut by Matthew Forde helped guide the West Indies to a series-clinching four-wicket win over England in the decisive third and final match of their One-Day International series at Kensington Oval in Barbados on Saturday.

In a rain-affected encounter, the 21-year-old Barbadian delighted the few home supporters among a majority English audience with figures of three for 29 as the tourists were restricted to 206 for nine off 40 overs after being put in.

Then, with the West Indies stuttering at 135 for six in pursuit of a revised target of 188 off 34 overs, Forde (13 not out) joined Romario Shepherd (41 not out) in an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 56 to take the Caribbean team to their first ODI series triumph over England for 16 years and their first at home against these opponents for 25 years.

"This is a dream come true," said an overwhelmed Forde, who was named Man of the Match, in reflecting on his contribution. "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."

Brought into the team in place of Oshane Thomas and given use of the new ball, the hometown boy claimed wickets in his first two overs and added a third in his fifth to put England immediately on the back foot.

Ben Duckett offered the only substantial resistance with a pugnacious innings of 71, getting meaningful support from Liam Livingstone (45) in a stand of 88 for the sixth wicket after they had slumped to 49 for five in the tenth over.

Forde removed Phil Salt to a low catch at mid-off and then had Zak Crawley taken at second slip. He added the wicket of the other opener, Phil Jacks, two overs later via a wicketkeeper's catch.

Jacks was almost the unlikely hero for England with the ball, taking three wickets for 22 runs, including topscorer Keacy Carty for 50, to seem to tilt the balance of the match in his side's favour.

- A few short -

However Jacks and the other slow bowling options Rehan Ahmed and Liam Livingstone could not separate the pair of Shepherd and Forde and when 24 runs were smashed off returning seamer Gus Atkinson in the 30th over, the result was effectively sealed.

"We were a few short with the bat," said England captain Jos Buttler in reflecting on the loss. "We fought hard with the ball but it just wasn't enough. This is the start of a long journey for this side. Hopefully we can build something for the future."

For West Indies captain Shai Hope, who took the Man of the Series award with a tally of 192 runs at an average of 96 across the three matches, both the result and the contributions of younger players were encouraging.

"It's great to see these other guys chipping in with the bat and as long as we continue in this vein it can develop into a very good batting group," he said.