Everything seemed to come off, says Bristol hero Moeen
Moeen Ali said his six-laden century against Windies in the Bristol One-Day International on Sunday (September 24) was simply a matter of deciding to “press the button and play a few shots”.
Moeen struck England’s second-fastest ODI century, off just 53 balls, with his second fifty coming in a world record 12 deliveries. His 102 was the cornerstone of a total of 369 for 9 – England’s highest in ODIs against Windies.
Despite an impressive 94 from the returning Chris Gayle, it proved too much for the visiting side to chase, and England won by the commanding margin of 124 runs to go 2-0 up with two to play in this five-match series – the second game ended in a no-result due to rain.
Once Gayle was run out by Adil Rashid, Windies’ innings fell away with Liam Plunkett taking 5 for 52 – his maiden ODI five-for – as they were dismissed for 245 with a whopping 65 balls to spare.
Moeen hit eight sixes and Gayle six in a match featuring 28 in total, with both left-handed batsmen taking advantage of the short straight boundaries at Gloucestershire’s headquarters.
“I just had a slog really, and everything just seemed to come off,” said Moeen. “I thought we’d got ourselves in, and it was time to press the button and play a few shots – it’s not a massive hit for six (here).”
Windies, who have now lost 14 of their last 15 completed ODIs against England, actually started impressively with the ball to restrict the home side to just 18 runs off the first five overs.
“We just didn’t finish off well,” said Jason Holder, who won the toss and fielded. “They (England) bat deep. He (Moeen) has played a special innings. I think we didn’t execute our plans towards him. It’s a small ground and he backed himself to clear it.”
One consolation for Windies was Gayle’s innings. He had marked his 38th birthday on Thursday by injuring his hamstring just before the toss while warming up and so missing a rainswept no second ODI at Trent Bridge. But he was near his blistering best in Bristol.
“It was very special,” said Holder of Gayle’s 78-ball innings, which also featured nine fours. “Not only did he get the start we wanted, he carried on and batted into the innings. That was important, the longer he stays out there, the more England fear (losing).”
Holder also insisted there was a far more thoughtful side to Gayle than might be apparent from a player who revels in a ‘cool’ image with the self-created nickname of ‘Universe Boss’.
“Chris is always a relaxed guy but, if you go to him, you’d be surprised by the amount of information you get from him,” said Holder. “I’ve been privy to having a few chats with him in the last couple of days and it’s been wonderful. He’s shared a lot of information and helped me out a lot on the field.
“It’s really good to have a guy like him playing for you. Hopefully his body will allow to him carry on a lot longer.”
Holder was adamant that Windies, the World Twenty20 champions, were “not too far off” from becoming a competitive side in the 50-over game.
“We just need to knuckle down a little more, especially when we bat,” he said.
Jason Holder concluded, “Death bowling has obviously been a cause for concern in the recent past and we really need to tighten up there as well.” AFP