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Flintoff hat-trick seals England series win

Published: Saturday, April 4, 2009, 12:45 [IST]
 
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Flintoff seals historic victory

St. Lucia: All-rounder Andrew Flintoff's hat trick in a career-best 5-19 piloted England to a 26-run win against West Indies and victory in the one-day international cricket series at Beausejour Stadium on Friday.

England earned its first one-day series triumph in the Caribbean by 3-2 from 2-1 down.

In a rain-shortened match, England, on the back of a top score of 48 from Kevin Pietersen, totalled 172-5 off 29 overs.

Opener Ravi Bopara contributed 44 while Paul Collingwood with 35 not out and Matt Prior on 25 not out beefed up the innings towards the end.

Left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn took 2-23 and medium pacer Kieron Pollard claimed 2-31.

Once West Indies lost captain Chris Gayle for a duck, the host was always under pressure. It eventually folded for 146 all out off 28 overs.

Dwayne Bravo topscored with 33 and fellow all-rounder Pollard contributed 30 but they both departed in successive deliveries to end West Indian hopes.

Man of the match Flintoff supplied late drama with a hat trick, bowling Denesh Ramdin, trapping Ravi Rampaul leg before wicket and then rattling the stumps of Benn. His haul of 5-19 off five overs was the third best figures for England in one-dayers.

James Anderson claimed Gayle on his way to 2-34 while there were also important wickets for Stuart Broad and Paul Collingwood.

The match began four hours late after heavy overnight and early morning rain left the outfield sodden.

England lost captain Andrew Strauss for 3 at 8-1 as he miscued a pull off Rampaul straight to square leg.

But Pietersen and Bopara laid the foundation for the innings in a second-wicket stand of 80 off 85 deliveries.

Pietersen struck four fours and a six off 48 balls before he cut Benn to backward point, while Bopara hit two fours and two sixes off 49 deliveries until he top-edged a skier to the wicketkeeper off Pollard.

When Owais Shah (6) and Flintoff (3) fell, the innings had slipped to 112-5 in the 21st over.

Benn also claimed Shah to a catch at long-on while Pollard removed Flintoff as Shivnarine Chanderpaul held a blinder at midwicket.

Collingwood and Prior gave England late momentum in an unbroken stand of 60 off 50 deliveries.

Collingwood hit two fours and a six off 31 balls while Prior hit three fours off 25 balls.

West Indies' reply was shaken when Gayle diverted Anderson to Flintoff at second slip.

Lendl Simmons and Ramnaresh Sarwan revived the home team in a stand of 39 for the second wicket.

But when both fell within five runs and the experienced Chanderpaul perished for 13, West Indies was in trouble at 69-4.

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