Clinical West Indies outplay England in lone T20
West Indies produced a watertight bowling performance to strangle England and claim victory by 21 runs in the one-off Twenty20 international at Durham on Saturday.
Chasing 177 for victory, the hosts looked well on course after Alex Hales blasted 43 from just 17 balls to light up the powerplay overs on a bitterly cold night at Chester-le-Street.
But Sunil Narine’s 2-15 turned the screw as only Jos Buttler – who passed 1,000 T20I runs in making 30 – and Jonny Bairstow (27) offered any hope before the home side fell well short, all out for 155.
In truth, England ought to have been chasing in excess of 200 after a destructive opening stand from Evin Lewis (51) and Chris Gayle – whose first six in his 40 from 21 was his 100th maximum in T20Is.
Liam Plunkett (3-27) and Adil Rashid (3-25) dragged the hosts back into contention, but Eoin Morgan’s side were left to rue failures with the bat as Narine turned the screw and ensured the Windies’ white-ball stars did what their Test colleagues could not, after a 2-1 defeat in the five-day arena.
Gayle’s milestone moment arrived from his seventh delivery, dispatching David Willey over midwicket, and he followed that up by crashing the next ball over the bowler’s head, narrowly missing a media box window.
The best of his four maximums went like a tracer bullet over cover off Chris Jordan, before Lewis got in on the act by taking 16 from Tom Curran’s first three balls of the sixth over.
Gayle’s fun came to an end after the powerplay, though, as he ambled lazily for a single and was run out smartly by a combination of Jason Roy and Plunkett.
Plunkett continued to check the Windies’ progress by removing Lewis, Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard in his final two overs, while his Yorkshire team-mate Rashid followed suit in claiming three scalps as the tourists somewhat limped through to 176-9 from the remainder of their allocation.
England’s reply got off to the worst possible start as Roy fell to the first ball, and Rovman Powell’s drop of Hales four deliveries later proved costly, the opener thumping eight fours and a six to get the hosts ahead of the rate.
But he, Joe Root and Morgan fell in successive overs to leave England 68-4 – a wobble steadied by Buttler and Bairstow, their 50 stand brought up in glorious fashion as the latter drove Pollard over wide long-off for six.
Buttler holed out immediately afterwards, though, and when Bairstow perished it left England’s tail too much to do as the Windies were able to warm themselves with a well-earned victory.