Shai Hope’s century and Romario Shepherd’s speedy 48 powered West Indies to a four-wicket victory in the series-opening ODI as England’s hopes of rebuilding after its disastrous Cricket World Cup got off to a false start.
England scored an impressive 325 all out in 50 overs at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium but captain Jos Buttler made his fifth single-figure score in eight one-day internationals after being dismissed for three off 13 balls.
The total looked to be enough as West Indies was reduced to 5-213 in the 39th over but Hope’s unbeaten 109 off 83 balls and Shepherd’s 28-ball 48 underpinned a remarkable triumph as the home side ran down 326 in 48.5 overs.
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Hope’s three sixes in four balls off the expensive Sam Curran, who cost 98 in 9.5 wicketless overs, helped the Windies get over the line. Curran’s figures were the most expensive in England’s ODI history.
The outing continued a miserable run of form for Curran since he became the most expensive player in the Indian Premier League’s history after being bought by the Punjab Kings for INR 18.50 crore (approximately $3.24 million) during last year’s player auction.
Curran netted the deal on the back of a terrific T20 World Cup campaign for England, where he was named the Player of the Tournament and the Player of the Match in the final as England beat Pakistan.
The 25-year-old has managed just 14 wickets in 12 ODI appearances in 2023 at an average of 39.07 and an economy rate of 6.73.
His fall-off in T20s has been even more staggering. After picking up 25 wickets in 19 T20s at an average of 21.08 last year, he has managed just two wickets in six T20s in 2023 at a whopping average of 67.
There was reaction aplenty to Curran’s horror show, but perhaps none more brutal than the Iceland cricket team’s official Twitter account.
Despite Curran’s struggles, there were positives for England. Harry Brook top-scored with 71 off 72 balls while opener Phil Salt amassed 45 off 28. Curran did better with the bat than ball, hitting 38 off 26, and Brydon Carse scored 31 not out off 21 to lift England beyond 300 after a middle-order wobble.
Rehan Ahmed (2-40) was the pick of England’s attack but it was unable to pin down a side which failed to qualify for the World Cup.
World Cup 2023 team of the tournament in pictures
The hosts had only chased down 300-plus totals three times in ODIs but their attempt to overhaul the highest 50-over total at this venue began brightly courtesy of the highly rated Alick Athanaze with 66 runs off 65.
The left-hander, leading run-scorer at the 2018 Under-19 World Cup, feasted on Curran’s waywardness, hooking a six in the first over before ending the power play with a mighty mow off Gus Atkinson.
Brandon King (35) was less fluent but put on 104 alongside Athanaze before Ahmed separated the pair.
Keacy Carty made just 16 in a 39-ball stay and the run-rate was steadily escalating when Shimron Hetmyer walked to the crease. Both Hetmyer and ODI debutant Sherfane Rutherford were caught on the boundary off Atkinson and Ahmed respectively as West Indies went into the last 10 overs requiring 106 runs for victory.
Hope went effortlessly through the gears, rotating the strike well. He went past 5,000 ODI runs before, with 90 needed off 48 balls, Shepherd went on the attack to Curran, muscling two leg-side sixes in an over containing 19 runs.
The 45th over, also bowled by Curran, went for 15 and the 47th by Carse was taken for 17 as Hope and Shepherd turned the tide.
While Atkinson took out Shepherd lbw, Curran was powerless to stop Hope repeatedly hammering him over the rope as the hosts claimed victory with seven balls remaining.