SAM BILLINGS produced his most dazzling and dynamic innings in four years as an England player.
The Kent captain rescued England from the depths of 29-4 and, in the closing overs, launched a ferocious assault that took him to 87 from 47 balls.
Then Chris Jordan took an incredible four wickets in eight balls during the power play and David Willey picked up two in one over – including that of Chris Gayle – to send the Windies hurtling to just 45 all out.
No Test nation has recorded a smaller total in T20s and only the 39 managed by Holland against Sri Lanka in 2014 is lower for any country.
What an embarrassing performance by the home team and England won by the crushing margin of 137 runs, securing the three-match Twenty20 series with a game to go.
It was England’s biggest win in T20 history – surpassing the 116-run thrashing of Afghanistan in 2012.
Billings has been on the fringes of England’s white ball ever since his debut in 2015 – a good team man but always hoping for more opportunities.
With the likes of Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali at home, Billings has been granted his wish on this trip.
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When he joined Joe Root, England would never have dreamed of reaching 182-6. But the pair batted sensibly, running hard and slapping the occasional boundary.
Root was run out for an accomplished 55 from 40 deliveries by a direct hit from long-on but then Billings and Willey put on 68 in just 4.1 overs.
Billings reached his half-century with a flat six into the team dug-out that sent his mates scurrying for cover.
The pair – well, Billings mainly – plundered 22 runs from both the 19th and 20th overs with some splendid striking.
In reply, Gayle chipped Willey to Root at mid-on and Shai Hope departed two balls later courtesy of a remarkable catch by Eoin Morgan.
England’s skipper backpedalled and somehow managed to cling onto the skier despite taking a nasty shoulder in the face when Tom Curran collided with him.
Joe Root (right) also put up a solid effort finishing with 55 from 40 deliveries[/caption]
Jordan ripped out the middle-order with proper seam bowling – all his victims were either caught behind, at first slip or lbw. He was taken off with figures of 2-0-6-4.
Jordan is unlikely to force his way into England’s World Cup squad but he is a mighty effective performer in T20s. It was good to see some of England’s less heralded players enjoying their moment in the spotlight.
The rest of the match was a formality and both Adil Rashid and Liam Plunkett helped themselves to a couple of wickets. To think Warner Park in St.Kitts was meant to favour the Windies batsmen because it is so small!
Mark Ramprakash has been sacked as England Test batting coach with Graham Thorpe lined up to take over for this summer’s Ashes.
Ramps tweeted last night that he will not be involved in the Ashes although he is under contract to the ECB until September so will not leave immediately.
Former England left-hander Thorpe is currently in the Caribbean with the white balls teams and is highly regarded by head coach Trevor Bayliss for his technical knowledge and relaxed manner.