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Result: Billings leads way as England recover from early collapse against West Indies

Result: Billings leads way as England recover from early collapse against West Indies
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The batsman hit 87 runs as the tourists scored 182 for six.

Sam Billings struck his highest international score as England set the West Indies a target of 183 to win the second Twenty20 in St Kitts.

Billings made 87 in 47 balls at Warner Park, his best effort to date in 35 appearances across both white-ball formats, hitting 10 fours and three sixes.

England were in bother at 32 for four when he took to the crease, but a stand of 82 alongside Joe Root steadied the ship and he took charge late on as England clubbed 44 off the last two overs.

— England Cricket (@englandcricket) March 8, 2019

England's top order had earlier fallen to pieces in the powerplay. Pre-match talk had focused on the short straight boundaries and the possibility for a deluge of sixes, but with the field up there was only one maximum and four boundaries in the first six overs.

Jonny Bairstow was first to fall, spraying a loose cut shot to short third man to give Sheldon Cottrell the breakthrough.

England conspired to lose wickets in each of the next three overs, surrendering any chance of building momentum.

Alex Hales carved Fabian Allen's first ball for six before top-edging his second to short fine-leg, Eoin Morgan was strangled down the leg side by Carlos Brathwaite's medium-pace and Joe Denly scattered his own stumps attempting to cut Allen against the spin.

— England Cricket (@englandcricket) March 8, 2019

Root and Billings held the fort for more than 10 overs as they rebuilt a base. Root's strokeplay was decisive, with controlled pulls, balanced cover drives and three boundaries in four balls when Obed McCoy fed his favoured scoring arc behind square on the off-side.

His half-century occupied just 36 balls but he was gone for 55, run out by a yard when he wrongly took on Allen in the deep.

Billings had 34 in 31 balls at the time but hit a new level when Root departed, taking 53 runs from his next 16.

Among his frenzied finale was an astonishing ramp sweep off Brathwaite, a flashy uppercut and an improvised reverse pull. Billings passed 50 with a flat six and took two more off debutant McCoy in a busy final over that saw 22 runs, one dropped catch and, finally, Billings' wicket from a thick edge.

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Eoin Morgan in action during the second ODI between Sri Lanka and England on October 13, 2018
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