Reece Topley admitted he felt deflated at England losing their T20 series decider against the West Indies.
Two days after compiling their highest T20 total of 267 for three, England subsided to 132 all out in 19.3 overs on the same pitch at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba, which was much trickier to bat on.
Despite the best efforts of their bowlers England tumbled to a four-wicket defeat as the Windies were grateful for Shai Hope’s efficient run-a-ball 43 not out to get them home with four balls to spare.
On a trip that doubled as a reconnaissance mission for the 2024 T20 World Cup, England can take some positives away, not least from battling back from 2-0 down to set up a winner-takes-all showdown.
But a World Cup group stage exit has now been followed by ODI and T20 series defeats against the Windies and Topley acknowledged there can be no excuses at leaving the Caribbean empty-handed.
“I was so excited to turn up here because it was basically like a final and those are the games you want to play in and be on the right side of,” he said.
“It is gutting. There’s a lot of talk about Test cricket being the priority and there’s some faces missing here but when we come up against the guys, they’ve got a lot of their main players here.
“The bottom line is you want to win this series, especially as a player where white-ball cricket is my Test cricket so I want to win every series I can for England.”
This was the Windies’ fourth successive series win over England in all formats, built on Gudakesh Motie’s three for 24 with fellow slow left-armer Akeal Hosein taking two for 20.
Phil Salt followed up his back-to-back hundreds by top-scoring with 38 off 22 balls, only prised from the crease by a peach from Motie, who produced drift then sharp turn to uproot middle stump.
England struggled from then on and lost their last five wickets in 19 balls for 11 runs although Topley’s two for 17 and Adil Rashid’s two for 21 made sure the chase was anything but a cakewalk.
“The other day there was another wicket made up next to our strip but it was their decision to play on the same wicket again, probably knowing it brings spin into the game a little bit more,” Topley said.
“It’s been an amazing series, both teams have played some unbelievable cricket.
“We’ve taken a lot from this series, there’s the World Cup here next year but there’s also some fresh faces that have been exposed to top-level international cricket and some have taken to it really well.”
While his efforts were in vain, Topley has enhanced his case for the T20 World Cup next June after being overlooked for the first two matches following the broken finger which ended his World Cup early.
“Obviously no one likes to be left out and I was thinking about why I was left out for the first two,” Topley said.
“But then I had a point to prove, almost, coming back in and I’d like to think that maybe I’d have justified being selected after the third game.”
Windies captain Rovman Powell was satisfied his team held their nerve after back-to-back defeats but admitted they are not the finished article for the T20 World Cup they are co-hosting.
“I think we are prepared for the World Cup but there are still areas where we need to sharpen up, especially our bowling,” Powell said. “Two games back-to-back England beat us badly as a bowling group.
“There is a lot of work for us to do, so hopefully over the next few months we can sharpen up and get those areas sorted.”