England captain Eoin Morgan commended his Twenty20 side as “close to perfect” after they blitzed the West Indies for the second time in three days to end their tour with a 3-0 series sweep.
Forty-eight hours on from dismissing their hosts for 45 in St Kitts, Morgan’s men were at it again, taking all 10 wickets for 71 – England’s top two performances with the ball in the format.
The top order then made light work of their target, sprinting over the line with 57 deliveries unused to claim a record of their own, this time for quickest completed chase.
Morgan can be a demanding captain but cut a satisfied figure at the close, particularly given the absence of first-choice players Jason Roy, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali.
“The guys played close to perfect, it’s a big win,” he said.
“I don’t think you can fault us for many things. Guys have stuck their hands up on numerous occasions and it’s really exciting to see.”
Despite rest and rotation, England have found a steady supply of match-winners, with standout performances from Sam Billings, Tom Curran and man-of-the-series Chris Jordan.
David Willey was the latest player to show his skills, setting up the concluding win with a decisive new-ball spell of four for seven – second only to Jordan’s four for six in the previous game among England’s best 20-over figures.
“They are the kind of days you dream about in Twenty20 cricket,” said Willey.
“Very often it’s a batter’s game so to be a bowler and get some wickets, then to win in the fashion we did is brilliant.
“I’d like to think I was on for the five-for but if someone had offered me four for seven when I woke up this morning I’d have bitten their hand off. I’m happy with that.”
Willey was kicking his heels throughout the five-match one-day series, with questions beginning to be raised about his World Cup place. He was happy to get his chance, albeit in a different format, and feels happy with his game after wearing the shirt three times in week.
“Touring is difficult when you’re not playing and when you do get your opportunity there is a bit more pressure on for you to step up and contribute,” he explained.
“I always feel I play my best cricket when I’m playing regularly so it can present a challenge to hit your straps when you’re not playing regularly. So to come out and play as I have gives me a lot of confidence.”
All eyes now turn to this summer’s tournament, with competition for bowling places reaching fever pitch.
Jofra Archer becomes available in a week’s time and has been promised a chance to impress in clashes with Ireland and Pakistan, while Jordan’s recent showings have thrust him back into the conversation.
Morgan suggested Archer will not be the only player from outside the provisional World Cup 15 to get game time in the build-up, in a bid to prepare them should they be required at late notice.
“The guys who did perform certainly will be talked about in selection meetings,” he said.
“Moving forward there is an opportunity to look at other guys outside of our mainstay players.
“The law averages suggests we’ll have a couple of injuries during the World Cup so it is important.”
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