England succumbed to the left-arm spin of Akeal Hosein while seamer Jason Holder took four wickets in as many balls as the West Indies wrapped up a 3-2 Twenty20 series win after prevailing by 17 runs in a gripping decider.
After England were set 180 for victory, James Vince registered a second half-century in 17 T20s before holing out for 55 off 35 balls to Hosein, who finished with four for 30 to seemingly end the weakened tourists’ ambitions.
Sam Billings carried their hopes to bring the equation down to 20 from the final six balls but departed for 41 off 28 deliveries as Holder delivered the coup de grace, with England all out for 162 in 19.5 overs.
Chris Jordan, Billings then Adil Rashid were all caught on the fence from successive balls as England sought the big shots to keep them alive, but Holder joined an exclusive club when Saqib Mahmood’s inside edge nicked leg stump.
Lasith Malinga, Rashid Khan and Curtis Campher are the only other males to take four in four in a T20 international, while Holder finished with a format-best five for 27 to end an enjoyable series in dramatic fashion.
Kieron Pollard’s 41 not out from 25 balls and Rovman Powell’s unbeaten 35 from 17 deliveries led the Windies to 179 for four after Rashid had earlier leapfrogged Jordan as England men’s leading T20 wicket-taker.
He took two for 17 to move on to 81 career wickets, while Liam Livingstone collected identical figures as the pair and fellow spinner Moeen Ali yielded just 54 from their 10 overs, with England’s quicks repeatedly targeted.
It was a curate’s egg of an innings from the Windies, racing to 58 without loss in the powerplay as the returning Mahmood once again came in for punishment. Seven days earlier he had conceded 28 in his last over and here he was greeted by towering sixes from Brandon King (34) and Kyle Mayers (31).
Billings missed a stumping chance to reprieve King, but there was early turn on offer for stand-in England captain Moeen and his decision to turn to Rashid then Livingstone bore fruit instantly. Rashid ended a 59-run opening stand, although he was grateful for Jason Roy’s relay catch to Phil Salt on the boundary to dismiss Mayers.
Romario Shepherd, catapulted up the order, and King both perished swinging at Livingstone’s mix-and-match spin, subduing the Windies alongside Rashid’s variations. Nicholas Pooran attempted to take the attack to Rashid but swung, missed and was bowled for 21 off 24 balls as the Windies limped to 113 for four after 16 overs.
Returning to pace allowed Powell and Pollard a chance to free their arms and they duly obliged. Reece Topley had conceded just 12 from his opening two overs but disappeared for 18 in his third, Powell kickstarting the late charge with a ferocious straight hit for his side’s first boundary in 42 deliveries.
Jordan was fractionally off with his yorkers as he and Topley were unable to contain Powell and Pollard, who added a whopping 66 in the final 24 balls, and the Windies were further boosted when Roy departed from the third ball of the reply.
Hosein took the new ball, perhaps to exploit Roy’s perceived weakness against left-arm spin. While Roy belted fours off the first two balls, he inside edged the third on to his pad and Pooran caught.
Tom Banton miscued to midwicket for 16 off Odean Smith, back in the team after the Windies denied a rift with Pollard. Smith should have had a second wicket in two balls when he found some extra bounce to startle Moeen, but the edge was dropped by a juggling Holder.
Vince had earlier settled with a graceful straight six off Holder and looked at ease with some deft nudges and trademark drives. Moeen was cagier and – after England had reached 86 for two at halfway to match the Windies score from 10 overs – was unable to capitalise on his let-off as he found the cover fielder.
Vince, given a chance in this series as several regulars rest following the Ashes, then carved successive fours off Hosein to reach a 30-ball fifty, but the spinner had his revenge. Having already seen off Livingstone, Hosein celebrated when Vince’s slog sweep was caught on the boundary.
With 48 required from 18 balls, Billings carted Smith over deep midwicket twice, although Sheldon Cottrell was boundary-free in the penultimate over to put the Windies in the boxseat. While Holder overstepped with his first ball, he cashed in when Jordan, Billings and Rashid holed out before then cleaning up Mahmood.