Tue, Sep 26, 2017 - Page 16 News List

England hero Moeen Ali ‘presses button’ in six-fest

AFP, BRISTOL, England

England’s Moeen Ali, left, plays a shot against the West Indies in the third one-day international in Bristol, England, on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

Moeen Ali on Sunday said his six-laden one-day international century against the West Indies in Bristol, England, was simply a matter of deciding to “press the button and play a few shots.”

Ali struck England’s second-fastest one-day century off just 53 balls, with his second 50 coming in a world record 12 deliveries.

His 102 was the cornerstone of a total of 369-9 — England’s highest in one-day internationals against the West Indies.

Despite an impressive 94 from the returning Chris Gayle, it proved too much for the visitors to chase, with England winning by the commanding margin of 124 runs to go 2-0 up with two to play in the five-match series.

Once Gayle was run out by Adil Rashid, the West Indies innings fell away, with England fast bowler Liam Plunkett taking 5-52 — his maiden one-day five-for — as the tourists were dismissed for 245 with a whopping 65 balls, or more than 10 overs, to spare.

Ali 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.

“I just had a slog really and everything just seemed to come off,” all-rounder Ali, known for being an elegant stroke-player, told reporters. “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].”

The West Indies, who have now lost 14 of their past 15 completed one-day internationals 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 a rueful West Indies captain Jason Holder, who won the toss and fielded. “They [England] bat deep. He [Ali] 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 the West Indies was Gayle’s innings.

“It was very special,” said Holder of the veteran’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].”

Meanwhile, Holder insisted there was a far more thoughtful side to Gayle than might be apparent from a player who revels in a “cool” image.”

“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,” Holder said.

Holder was adamant that the West Indies, the World Twenty20 champions, were “not too far off” becoming a competitive side in the 50-over game.

“We just need to knuckle down a little more, especially when we bat,” he said ahead of tomorrow’s fourth one-day match at The Oval in London. “’Death’ bowling has obviously been a cause for concern in the recent past and we really need to tighten up there as well.”

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