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Hope-less England hit new low as Shai century powers West Indies with Curran clattered

(Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)
3rd December, 2023
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A magnificent century by Shai Hope has powered West Indies to a thrilling four-wicket victory over England in the first of three one-day internationals at North Sound, Antigua.

Set 326 for victory, captain Hope anchored the West Indies reply before producing some savage hitting to guide his team home with seven balls remaining, finishing unbeaten on 109.

Hope smashed three sixes off the penultimate over off the hapless Sam Curran to reach three figures and seal victory.

It was West Indies’ highest-ever ODI run chase against England, surpassing the 286 they managed at Lord’s in 2004, and their second highest against any opponents.

England were hoping to put their World Cup failure behind them and when West Indies slumped to 5-213 in the 38th over they appeared in control.

But Hope, in partnership with the explosive Romario Shepherd, turned the match on its head as the hosts put on 89 in 51 balls for the sixth wicket.

Shepherd was eventually out for 48, having hit three sixes, but by then Hope was well and truly in the groove.

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West Indies has started well in their chase with Alick Athanazen (66) and Brandon King (35) putting on a century for the opening wicket but England hit back with Rehan Ahmed taking 2-40 in 10 tight overs.

England’s bowlers did a decent job at hauling West Indies back but Curran came in for some mighty punishment, conceding 98 runs – the most ever for an England bowler in ODIs.

“I’ve played a lot of ODI cricket, always back myself to win in any position,” Hope said.

“(Shepherd) was amazing, one of those guys you can depend on. We got the win, want to continue the series on a high.”

England captain Jos Buttler won the toss and opted to bat on a two-paced pitch and openers Phil Salt and Will Jacks smashed 77 for the opening wicket in 8.2 overs.

They did not fully capitalise on such a great start, however, with Harry Brook (71) the only other batter to really capitalise.

Some late hitting by Curran and Brydon Carse put on 66 for England’s eighth wicket as they moved past the 300 mark.

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The pick of the West Indies bowlers was Gudakesh Motie who took 2-49 while Oshane Thomas and Shepherd also took two wickets on an encouraging day for the hosts.

For England, there were some encouraging signs but Buttler said they would have to learn some lessons.

“It was a fantastic batting effort. Loved the intent, and they set the tone at the top,” he said.

“Brilliant game, credit to Shai and Romario, some fantastic sixes and we’ll learn a lot.”

© AAP

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