Windies win thriller by three runs

By Tony Lawrence
Guyana Chronicle
July 21, 2000

NOTTINGHAM, England, (Reuters) - Alec Stewart scored a century but could not stop the West Indies sealing a final-over consolation win against England in the last round-robin match of the one-day triangular series yesterday.

Jimmy Adams's side, however, will still have to watch England take on Zimbabwe in the final tomorrow at Lord's.

Stewart, with scores of 74 not out and 101 in his previous two innings, ran out of partners at Trent Bridge in the final over.

England, chasing a modest 195 for nine and needing five to win off the last over from occasional off-spinner Chris Gayle, lost three wickets in five balls to go down by three runs.

Stewart said: "Gayle bowled an exceptional last over - it's disappointing to get so close and lose, but we are not down.

"Eighty-five per cent of what we did was good. The bottom line is that we are in the final and, if we can improve tomorrow, we can win."

West Indies had failed to win any of their opening five matches but got things right at last, shrugging off the absence of the injured Brian Lara to defend successfully a mediocre total after being put in to bat.

GOLDEN DUCK England, who had won their previous three games in the competition as well as six out of their last seven one-day internationals, looked well set after reaching 46 without loss.

But pace bowler Reon King then took three wickets for two runs in nine balls, including the wicket of Graeme Hick for a golden duck, to turn the game.

Stewart, who survived a big appeal for caught behind after scoring just one, seemed to have put England back on track as he put on a rapid 63 with all-rounder Craig White for the sixth wicket and 32 for the seventh with Mark Ealham.

Twenty-six runs were still needed with five overs remaining. Stewart, who during the series has also equalled the world record for one-day internationals of six wicketkeeping catches in a match, reached three figures in the penultimate over, including 11 fours from 146 balls. But he would remain stranded on 100 during Gayle's dramatic final over.

WINNING FEELING With the score on 191 for seven, debutant Paul Franks was run out by a direct hit as he tried to steal a leg-bye off the first ball. Stewart scrambled a leg-bye off the next. Then Darren Gough was clean-bowled by Gayle off the third ball and, off the fifth delivery, Alan Mullally went lbw.

Gayle, who took two for 21 and also top-scored with 37 after opening the batting, was the man of the match.

"I wasn't really nervous," said the Jamaican. "I knew I could do it and I knew the team had confidence in me."

Adams, whose side resume their Test series with England next month, added: "It's great to have that winning feeling again - better late than never."

Zimbabwe ended the round-robin phase with four wins out of six while England won three and West Indies one. One game between the latter two teams was washed out.

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