Hales 99 licks West Indies
Alex Hales compiled a magnificent 99 and shared a sensational partnership of 159 with Ravi Bopara to lead England to a seven-wicket win over West Indies in the NatWest International T20 at Trent Bridge.
Powerful hitting from Dwayne Smith and Dwayne Bravo, who contributed 70 and 54 respectively, helped the Windies reach an imposing total of 172 for four after Darren Sammy had chosen to bat first.
Their innings contained 10 sixes, but the hosts responded superbly as Hales - demonstrating an impressive array of strokes on either side of the wicket - fell agonisingly short of recording the first century by an England player in Twenty20 internationals.
The 23-year-old opener, one of four Nottinghamshire players in action on their home ground, was bowled by Ravi Rampaul from the final ball of the penultimate over with England needing four.
Bopara also fell before victory was completed, having played a fine supporting hand to Hales, who surpassed Eoin Morgan’s 85 against South Africa at the Wanderers in 2009/10 – the previous highest score by an England batsman in this format.
5:38pm - ENGLAND WIN BY SEVEN WICKETS!!! - But it is over now. Morgan digs out a full ball to mid-off and a mis-field allows the batsmen to collect the two required. A superb run-chase from Stuart Broad’s men in the early evening sunshine!
5:35pm – WICKET! Bopara c Edwards b Samuels 59; Eng 171/3 - It is not over just yet. Bopara holes out to long-off and England need two from three balls. Jos Buttler joins Morgan.
5:32pm - WICKET! Hales b Rampaul 99; Eng 169/2 - Would you believe it?!?! With just four needed, Hales is cleaned up on 99. What a pity. A truly stunning innings from the Nottinghamshire opener, who receives a suitably rapturous ovation. Eoin Morgan arrives at the crease with one over left.
5:29pm – FIFTY! Bopara (39b 3x4 1x6) - Bopara moves past 50 with a clip through midwicket for four off Rampaul, who is operating around the wicket. The next ball is pulled behind square to leave nine needed from 10 balls!
5:26pm – DROPPED CATCH - Dear oh dear...Sammy will not be smiling after this. He gives Bopara a life at short midwicket off Narine and that may be very costly. Two overs to come and England are 17 shy of their target, with Hales on 95 and Bopara 48.
5:23pm - The wheels are coming off for the Windies. Edwards spears a no-ball down the leg side to concede five more. Not what the tourists needed and England now require just 23 from 18.
5:17pm - England now need 35 from 24 balls after two fours from Bopara in Marlon Samuels’ first over, which goes for 11. Hales is on 91.
5:13pm - Edwards is recalled and starts with two perfect yorkers. You cannot hit those for six! Hales clears the ropes at fine-leg later in the over, though, and now boasts the highest individual score by an England batsman in T20 cricket! This is also a record stand for the hosts.
5:09pm – CENTURY PARTNERSHIP (Hales/Bopara) - Hales is playing a real gem of an innings here. A delicate steer through third man off Sammy shows he has more than just brute force in his locker and brings up the hundred partnership. England require 57 from six overs and Hales has 81.
5:05pm - A let-off for Bopara as a leading edge off Narine flies into the air before somehow landing safely behind the bowler. Hales then bottom-edges one through wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin’s legs for four. More good fortune for the hosts!
5:01pm - Hales surpasses his previous highest T20 international score with a classy cut for four off Sammy. England are 96 for one and need 77 from the final eight overs. Plenty of batting to come of course.
4:58pm - Just three from the over and a good start from Sammy, who must surely be one of the most popular characters in world cricket. He always seems to have a smile on his face. Kieron Pollard is unable to emulate his captain and a Bopara slog-sweep over midwicket helps England to 15 from the medium-pacer’s first set of six.
4:50pm - FIFTY! Hales (33b 2x4 3x6) - After a brief lull Hales moves to his second Twenty20 international half-century with another six, over long-on off Bravo. Just 33 balls used by the opener to reach that landmark and he will hope to hang around for a while yet. Darren Sammy brings himself on to bowl the 10th over.
4:46pm - Another new bowler and another boundary for Hales as he guides Dwayne Bravo through midwicket. Bopara looks in good touch at the other end and will be content to play a supporting role for now. After eight overs, England have reached 57 and require a further 115.
4:38pm - Hales welcomes the spinner into the attack with a back-foot punch to the cover fence that takes him to 29 from 20 balls. He’s a big lad is Alex, looks as though he could help Alastair Cook out on his farm. Not much to report from the remainder of the over and the score is 42 for one after six.
4:35pm - Hales picks up a second six – and the 12th of the day - with another flat pull off Rampaul. He was waiting for that delivery and we have lost another ball as a result! Here comes Sunil Narine for the final over of England's powerplay.
4:30pm - Hales succeeds where his opening partner failed by collecting a flat six behind square off Rampaul. Edwards seems keen to test the Nottinghamshire batsman with more short stuff, but is unable to gain reward as yet. England 26 for one from four.
4:22pm - WICKET! Kieswetter c Smith b Rampaul 3; Eng 10/1 - England follow the Windies by losing their first wicket with 10 on the board. Kieswetter looks to pull Rampaul over the fence at deep backward square but succeeds only in picking out Dwayne Smith. Ravi Bopara comes in.
4:20pm - Barbados’ number one Jeff Thomson impersonator, Fidel Edwards, shares the new ball. He oversteps to prompt a free hit, but Hales is unable to connect with a well-directed short delivery. Another five conceded and a steady start from England.
4:15pm - Ravi Rampaul gives England an early helping hand by starting with a leg-side wide. After surviving an appeal for leg before, Kieswetter then clears mid-on, but only just, to get off the mark with a single. Hales is away in more assured fashion with a neat push to the left of midwicket. Five from the opening over.
4:08pm - Barely enough time for me to stuff a cake into my chops at Trent Bridge and we are almost ready to begin the England innings. With the exception of Steven Finn, who returned 2-22 from four overs, the home bowlers took a bit of tap as West Indies surged into top gear. Can openers Alex Hales and Craig Kieswetter make a strong start in pursuit of 173?
West Indies innings
3:56pm - END OF INNINGS - WI 172/4; Bravo 54, Pollard 23 - The fifty stand arrives from 23 balls thanks to a Bravo four. He then clears the fielder at long-on to claim his third six. A single takes the Trinidadian to 50 from 34 balls and a couple of wides from Dernbach do little to help England’s cause. They face a stiff run-chase now.
3:50pm - There is usually a sprinkling of farce in the closing overs of a Twenty20 innings and we have just had our fair share. Pollard and Bravo both narrowly avoid being run out off the same delivery as they scramble a leg-bye. The former then comes close to finding Derby with a mammoth pulled six off Broad, who finishes with 1-33 from four overs. West Indies 153 for four with one to come.
3:45pm - The seventh six of the innings comes from the previously becalmed Bravo as he drags a Dernbach full toss over cow corner. Hold on, make that eight maximums! This time the ball is sent flying into the crowd at extra-cover. Eighteen from the over in all and the Windies now have 141 on the board.
3:38pm - Pollard bludgeons Patel back over the bowler’s head for four in typically dismissive fashion. Two balls later he clears the rope with another straight hit that briefly had me fearing for my safety in the press box. West Indies now 123 for four with three overs to come and Dernbach is on once again from the Pavilion End.
3:32pm - WICKET! Smith c Kieswetter b Finn 70; WI 107/4 - Smith’s fun is brought to an end as he nicks one behind attempting a flashing drive. That brings Kieron Pollard to the crease and he is immediately inconvenienced by a fierce short ball from Finn.
3:30pm - The Dwayne Smith Show continues, with a glorious cut off the returning Patel taking West Indies into three figures. The opener has now passed his previous highest T20 score of 63 and celebrates by smearing Finn over long-on for his fifth six.
3:25pm - FIFTY - Smith (46b 4x4 3x6) - Smith pulls Broad for another maximum, an absolutely massive one as well. That’s his half-century and we are going to need another ball! Smith punts the replacement ball down the ground for another six. He is flying now!
3:20pm - Sky’s cameraman is forced to take evasive action as Smith, facing Swann, thumps his second straight six. He has been the only batsman to have impressed thus far and has 45 in a total of 77 for three. Swann finishes with 1-32 from four overs.
3:17pm - Smith and Dwayne Bravo combine to collect six from Swann’s third over before Broad returns. The skipper keeps things tight, conceding two runs.
3:10pm - Even the brilliant Bairstow cannot prevent Smith from collecting his third four, courtesy of a sweep off Swann. The next ball also disappears to the boundary and that is a much better over for West Indies, with 11 coming from it. Smith strikes Patel for a gorgeous straight six in the next over and his side move on to 57 for three after 10.
3:05pm - Spin from both ends now as Samit Patel replaces Broad from the Pavilion End. Just four from his first set of six and England are in control for the time being at least.
2:59pm - Samuels c Kieswetter b Swann 4; WI 30/3 - And now Graeme Swann strikes with his second delivery. Looks as though Samuels got some sort of inside-edge, possibly via the glove, on to his body and wicketkeeper Kieswetter made no mistake. The Windies are rocking.
2:55pm - WICKET! Simmons c Bairstow b Broad 6; WI 24/2 - The birthday boy gets a wicket with his first ball and this is an even better catch from Bairstow, who dashes in from the midwicket fence before diving forward to take another mis-cued pull. Sensational effort! Marlon Samuels subsequently gets off the mark with an elegant cover-driven four. We have seen that shot a few times this summer.
2:53pm - Simmons picks up his first four with a thumping cover-drive off Finn. Ravi Bopara got a hand to the ball, but could not prevent the boundary. West Indies move to 24 for one from five overs and Stuart Broad is about to enter the attack.
2:49pm - Another sweetly-timed pull, this time just behind square, takes Smith into double figures. Only one more run is taken from the remainder of Dernbach’s over, however. Excellent start by England here. Lendl Simmons is the man to have joined Smith and has one to his name.
2:42pm - WICKET! Gayle c Bairstow b Finn 2; WI 10/1 - That is a HUGE breakthrough for Finn and England. Gayle top-edges a pull and Jonny Bairstow runs around from fine-leg to take a neat catch. No Gayle-force on show today...
2:40pm - Jade Dernbach sees an lbw appeal against Gayle turned down first up; it looked to have pitched well outside leg. A sweet pull from Dwayne Smith brings West Indies their first four. They are 10 without loss after two.
2:35pm - Looks as though there may be a bit of pace in this pitch. Steven Finn gets one to bounce on Chris Gayle and Craig Kieswetter does well to save two runs by getting a glove to the delivery, which is called as a wide. Surprisingly, Gayle leaves a couple before playing and missing outside off. He eventually gets off the mark with a single to mid-off. Just five from the opening over.
2:29pm - Steven Finn with the ball in his hand for England; Chris Gayle and Dwayne Smith walking out to open for the Windies. Here we go!
2:27pm - Marvellous - the brollies appear to have been put away and the start of play is imminent as the players march out on to the field. I will do my best to keep you up to speed.
2:20pm - Gah! I am afraid to say a few umbrellas have gone up to my right. No sign of the covers just yet. Hopefully it is little more than a brief burst of rain.
2:13pm - With Sammy having chosen to bat, it will not be long before we see Chris Gayle in action this afternoon. The powerful left-handed opener was at his brutal best in compiling a 51-ball 53 at the Kia Oval earlier this week. I wonder if we will see more fireworks?
2:03pm - WEST INDIES WIN THE TOSS AND BAT - Darren Sammy calls correctly at the toss and opts to make first use of the pitch. Fidel Edwards replaces Andre Russell in the Windies line-up, while England have selected Samit Patel ahead of Tim Bresnan.
1:55pm - Hopefully our Smurfs are the only people feeling blue at the end of today’s match. It promises to be a cracker. Around five minutes now until the teams are announced.
1:50pm - As the players conduct their warm-ups ahead of the toss, I can report that around a dozen Smurfs have arrived in the Fox Road Stand.
1:45pm - In the absence of several established stars, it was unheralded left-arm spinner Garey Mathurin who did much to derail England in the aforementioned previous meeting. Now, be honest, how many of you had forgotten his name?
1:40pm - I was lucky enough to be at the Kia Oval in September when these two sides last met in the shortest form of the game. On that occasion England coasted to a 10-wicket victory in the series-opener before suffering a surprising 25-run defeat two days later. The Windies had a somewhat weakened team out back then; only four members of today’s squad - Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Smith and Andre Russell - featured.
1:35pm - Play is scheduled to begin at 2:30pm and, with the sun starting to break through the clouds here in Nottingham, we should hopefully be under way on time. Forecasts suggest it will brighten up as the afternoon goes on.
1:30pm - Good afternoon and welcome to ecb.co.uk’s live coverage of the NatWest International T20 between England and West Indies. Darren Sammy’s side have mustered just one victory this summer, in a 50-over match against Middlesex. Can they finish off a disappointing tour with victory at Trent Bridge? We will soon see.