England’s Jade Dernbach was relieved after his “gamble” against the West Indies’ dangerman Darren Sammy paid dividends.
Sammy thrashed a stunning unbeaten 30 from nine balls to win Tuesday’s second in the series of three Twenty20 matches between the sides and threatened to do the same as his side chased 166 to win the third.
Dernbach just about held his nerve in the last over this time around, though a last-ball wide opened the door for Sammy and the extra ball would have also been signalled wide had the home captain succeeded in pulling his bat away.
He had earlier produced mixed results against a succession of bouncers from Dernbach, with one remarkable hooked six offset by some wayward swings.
“We had a pretty clear plan to Sammy,” Dernbach said.
“Obviously he came off in the last game, but we watched some film and tried to work out where to bowl at him.
“To the guys at home, bowling so many short balls might not look like the right option, but that’s where we’ve had him in trouble. Sometimes you have to gamble and (yesterday) it paid off.
“I tried hard, went away and worked hard this winter. It was important to get some cricket under my belt leading up to the World Cup and hopefully we can go and have a good campaign.”
Dernbach’s fellow paceman Chris Jordan was named man of the match, his 3-39 adding to a blistering 27 not out from nine balls – which included four sixes in the last over of England’s innings – and a great catch to dismiss Dwayne Bravo.
Jordan said: “It was a good opportunity I got, I’m glad I could take it.
“I’ve been striking it fairly decent all week, I’m just glad I got the balls I’ve been practising.
“I just wanted to get into the game. I did that with the bat and that rolled over into my bowling.”
Captain Eoin Morgan added: “It was a fantastic game of cricket and outstanding by Chris, coming in to give Brezzy (Yorkshire’s Tim Bresnan) a bit of a rest.
“He showed the strength we have in the side and that’s fantastic going into the World Cup.”
England’s all-Nottinghamshire opening pair Michael Lumb (63) and Alex Hales (38) put on 98, but the innings stalled somewhat until Jordan’s late onslaught.
“The two Notts boys, Michael Lumb in particular, was brilliant and set a good platform,” said Morgan.
“We had a bit of a stop-start back 10 (overs) but Jords coming in at the end lifted us.
“Even with that platform, the West Indies only needed one good partnership and they got that. But the boys held their nerve right to the end really well.”
England’s limited-overs coach Ashley Giles is not yet convinced his team are in shape for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, but was encouraged by the performance.
“We’re not quite ready, I’d say,” he said after the dead-rubber win in a series which finished 2-1 in the hosts’ favour.
“We’ve had one performance there with the top of the order, not a complete batting performance, but I’d say that score was about par.
“But sometimes it’s better to peak as you enter tournaments.
“We’ve got two warm-up games in Bangladesh; we feel we’re starting to get close now and if you can get some momentum going, then who knows? If we get it right, we’ll be dangerous.”
West Indies captain Sammy said: “It was a good game, the fans have been entertained in all three matches.
“All credit to my guys for taking it down to the final over. We still had a chance had I not put a bat on that (last ball).
“We always back ourselves to get two or three boundaries in six balls, but Dernbach was smarter than me so credit to him.”
Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson could miss the start of the ICC World Twenty20 due to a toe problem.
Johnson has an infected toe as a result of a cut received during the third Test in South Africa, which may signal a late arrival in Bangladesh for the 32-year-old.
Cricket Australia’s chief medical officer, associate professor Justin Paoloni, said: “Mitch has been home in Perth recovering from the Test series against South Africa, but has developed an infection as a result of a cut he had on his right big toe after the third Test.
“He is receiving treatment, but his departure to Bangladesh for the ICC World T20 may be delayed until we are happy that the infection has resolved and his toe fully recovered.”