Moeen and Plunkett shine as England power to Bristol win

Century: Englands Moeen Ali acknowledges the crowd after reaching his 100 during the Third Royal London ODI at Bristol.
Century: Englands Moeen Ali acknowledges the crowd after reaching his 100 during the Third Royal London ODI at Bristol.
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Moeen Ali won the Bristol six-fest with England’s second-fastest one-day international century as they prevailed by 124 runs to go 2-0 up in the Royal London Series against the West Indies.

Moeen, whose 53-ball hundred put him behind only Jos Buttler in England’s all-time list of fastest ODI centurions, went from 50 to 100 in an astonishing world-record 12 deliveries.

He completed the job with his eighth six in the space of just 14 balls out of 369-9 – England’s highest total against the West Indies.

The tourists were in no mood to go too quietly, despite Liam Plunkett’s maiden five-wicket haul, and took the match maximum count to 28 – Chris Gayle (94) with six, including three in succession off Moeen – in their 245 all out.

England put themselves one more win away from sealing the series, with two matches left to play.

Joe Root (84) made a more studied bid for the headlines, posting most runs across all formats in an English international summer as he and Ben Stokes (73) first hinted at a formidable total in their fourth-wicket stand of 132 after West Indies won the toss on a cloudy morning.

Moeen (102) and Chris Woakes took over in an increasingly brutal partnership of 117 from 76 balls as 50 runs were smashed in successive overs from Miguel Cummins (3-82) and Jason Holder.

Root and Stokes both went in a rush of three wickets for 11 runs as Cummins briefly interrupted home progress.

Stokes holed out on the cover boundary off Rovman Powell having hit two of his three sixes in succession off Ashley Nurse.

England had earlier made a sedate start.

The previously in-form Jonny Bairstow mistimed an easy return catch back to Holder, but Root was soon under way with three consecutive leg-side boundaries off Jerome Taylor as he and Alex Hales transformed the early scoring rate.

Hales went lbw on DRS when Cummins slanted one into him in his first over, however, and Eoin Morgan’s wretched run continued when Holder found movement off the pitch too to have him caught-behind first ball.

Root and Stokes ruled until, for the second time in the innings, two wickets fell in consecutive overs.

Buttler lost his off bail to an outstanding delivery from Cummins – and after the same bowler had Root lbw aiming to leg, England had to reassess.

Seventh-wicket pair Moeen and Woakes did so initially.

But then Moeen, dropped by Gayle at point on 87, switched gear dramatically as England piled up 123 runs in the last 10 overs.

Evin Lewis announced the West Indies’ intentions in the chase, hitting two sixes from David Willey’s first four balls only to mis-pull the fifth to mid-on, and Shai Hope was caught-behind driving in Plunkett’s second over.

Marlon Samuels was arguably unfortunate that DRS detected what was interpreted as the thinnest of edges behind off Plunkett (5-52).

Gayle’s third six, off Moeen, had taken him past his 50 by then – but when Adil Rashid came up with the direct hit from midwicket to run out the ‘Universe Boss’ a whisker short of the line chancing a quick single, West Indies were up against it.

So it proved, as Jason Mohammed and Holder narrowed the margin, but nothing more as the asking rate and Rashid (3-34) took their toll.

England captain Morgan has vowed to keep the West Indies under the pump by selecting his strongest team in the final two one-day internationals.

That means he is set to resist the temptation to give Jason Roy, Jake Ball or Tom Curran an opportunity.

“We’re going to be as ruthless as we can be,” Morgan said.

“We’re going to play our strongest XI for both games and hopefully go on to win the series convincingly.”

Morgan added: “Moeen’s innings was the difference between the sides.

“Scoring upwards of 360 is going to be a tough chase.

“Delivering when the team needs him to deliver is obviously so important for us. Winning a game like this is very important as well in the context of the series. He’s been outstanding today.”

Holder was disappointed his side allowed England to get away from them.

“The par score on this ground was probably 320,” said the West Indies captain.

“We got off to a pretty decent start and kept up with the run-rate but kept losing wickets at crucial stages.

“Chris was exceptional but we needed bigger partnerships.”