England left with lots to ponder after coming up short yet again

Yorkshire's Tim Bresnan hits a six, but England slipped to another T20 defeat.
Yorkshire's Tim Bresnan hits a six, but England slipped to another T20 defeat.
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Jos Buttler’s career-best 67 proved in vain as the West Indies prevailed by five wickets at the Kensington Oval, wrapping up Twenty20 series victory over England with a match to spare.

The tourists ultimately paid for another sticky start in Barbados, losing early wickets as in their defeat at this same venue two days earlier, as Krishmar Santokie (
4-21) this time did the damage.

They mustered 152-7, after winning the toss, and were then unable to defend their slightly below-par total as the West Indies completed their chase with seven balls to spare.

England chose to bat first but found themselves 26-3 after five overs.

By contrast, the West Indies’ reply would race to 58-1 in the powerplay thanks to the big hitting of openers Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith.

Ravi Bopara and James Tredwell hauled England back into the contest – only eight runs came from three overs at one stage –and then two wickets in two balls from Yorkshire’s Tim Bresnan hinted at an unlikely away win.

Bopara took pace skilfully off the ball to finish with remarkable figures of 1-0 from his four overs.

He had Gayle dragging on, after Smith had been caught at extra-cover from a leading edge at Jade Dernbach.

Luke Wright had Lendl Simmons very well-caught behind by Buttler, standing up, and then Marlon Samuels and Andre Russell holed out at long on from successive balls off Bresnan at the start of the 17th over.

But Darren Sammy finished the match with another flurry of big hits, hitting Bresnan for two sixes and then a four to seal the deal for the West Indies after all.

Buttler had hit his second half-century in this format, and shared a fourth-wicket stand of 76 with Alex Hales.

As in Sunday’s fixture at the same venue, when they fell short in a run chase, England were soon in trouble.

But Buttler responded with a 33-ball 50, full of his trademark clean hitting and inventive placement – hitting five fours and three sixes in all.

Santokie, called up here in place of the injured Sunil Narine, had put England on the back foot.

He saw off both Michael Lumb and Moeen Ali lbw, the opener going across his stumps and missing a full-toss and his fellow left-hander bamboozled by a clever slower ball.

When captain Eoin Morgan then mistimed a sweep at Samuel Badree straight to deep square-leg, England were faltering alarmingly again.

In the first seven overs there were only two boundaries, and not until the penultimate delivery of the 10th an overdue six –Hales hoisting Marlon Samuels over long on.

By then, Hales had escaped a very good Samuel Badree lbw appeal on 10 and been dropped by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin when he mis-hit a swirling chance high to short third man on 15.

Hales also gave a half-chance to a diving Gayle off Sammy at point on 29, and Buttler escaped on 45 when Dwayne Bravo could not hold a skier as the bowler himself chased another mistimed shot into the off-side.

But between the mis-hits, there were an increasing number of very well-struck shots – especially from Buttler – as he and Hales piled on 33 in two overs, from Sammy and Ravi Rampaul.

Hales’s luck finally ran out when, like Morgan before him, he hit into the wind and was held on the midwicket boundary off Bravo.

A 45-minute break for rain interrupted England after 14.3 overs, but Buttler returned to complete his 50 before he and Bopara holed out in Santokie’s remaining over to give the left-armer his best figures in only his fourth international match.

He had performed a similarly significant role against England on debut at The Oval back in 2011, and once again his contribution proved pivotal.

Afterwards, England’s stand-in captain Morgan admitted his side had not put enough runs on the board.

“We were probably about 15 or 20 short, from 30-3 it was a struggle,” he said.

“It’s difficult then to find the balance between scoring quickly and not losing wickets, it’s an area we’ve struggled with in the past and one we’ll continue to work on.

“Hales and Buttler were fantastic, to rebuild and get us up to 150. Jos has been in great form.”

Bridgetown: England 152-7 (J C Buttler 67, K Santokie 4-21) v West Indies 155-5. West Indies beat England by 5 wkts.