It was a battle of equals as England hosted Windies in the one-off T20I at Chester-le-Street. It was expected to be a cracker of a game as the two heavyweights of the format were involved. But after a lot of twists and turns, the visitors got the better of the home side and clinched the victory by 21 runs.
A blistering start
The hosts won the toss and asked Windies to bat first. The dangerous opening pair of Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis was at the English batsmen from the outset. It was absolute carnage from the 2 left-handers as they kept knocking the bowlers out of the park consistently. Gayle, when he hit his first six, became the only batsman to hit 100 sixes in T20Is.
After 6 overs, the score raced off to 72 and it seemed that the visitors would run away with the game. But a lazy effort from Gayle saw him getting run out for 40 off 21 balls in the 7th over consisting of 3 fours and 4 sixes. Marlon Samuels was the new man at the crease but Lewis carried on his usual demeanor to reach his fifty as the score was well past 100 in the 10th over.
A collapse pegged Windies back
But Liam Plunkett ended Lewis’s stay at the crease in the 11th over for 51 off 28 balls that included 6 fours and 3 sixes. The wicket opened the floodgates and Windies lost wickets in bundles. Samuels was sent back in the same over for 10. Two overs later, Kieron Pollard also made his way back to the pavilion for 6 as Plunkett bagged his 3rd wicket.
Next, it was Adil Rashid’s turn to pick up a wicket as he dismissed Chadwick Walton for 13 in the 14th over. All of a sudden, the visitors were reeling at 128/5 after 14 overs. The skipper Carlos Brathwaite became the 2nd victim of Rashid who went on to grab another in the form of Sunil Narine in the 16th over.
Windies were in danger of falling short of a competitive total but Rovman Powell brought some substance with a cameo of 28 off 19 balls before getting out in the penultimate over to Tom Curran. A slight rain halted the proceedings for a while but the players came back soon and Windies ended with 176/9 in 20 overs. A wonderful platform laid by the openers was wasted as 106 runs were scored in the first 10 overs whereas the last 10 yielded just 70.
In reply, England got off to the worst possible start as Jason Roy was removed by Jerome Taylor off the very first ball. It would have been even worse had Powell not dropped Alex Hales at square leg. The opener made the opposition pay for the mishap and struck 4 fours in the 2nd over. It was followed by 3 fours and a six in the next over.
The pendulum swung in favor of the hosts as Joe Root and Alex Hales brought up the fifty partnership in the 5th over. Hales was marching towards his half-century but was castled by Brathwaite in the 6th over for 43 off just 17 balls that included 8 fours and a six. At the end of the powerplay, England reached 64/2.
Windies fought back
Ashley Nurse came in to bowl his first over and bagged the big fish Root for 17 in the 7th over. Narine came into the act and removed Eoin Morgan in the 8th over for just 2. The hosts were tottering at 69/4 after 8 overs and were in deep trouble. Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow were at the crease and the duo kept the hopes alive.
Windies bowlers kept the pressure and didn’t let the batsmen score big. The match was getting tighter over by over as both sides were in with a chance when 59 runs were required off the last 6 overs. A lot was resting on Buttler’s shoulder but he had to walk back after scoring 30 off 27 in the 15th over as he held out on the deep mid-wicket boundary off Kesrick Williams.
The bowler picked up another wicket in the same over as he sent back Rashid for 1. Narine sent the home side further into trouble by getting Willey out stumped in the 16th over. Brathwaite dismissed the last hope for England- Bairstow for 27 and put the final nail in the coffin.
Chris Jordan fell to Williams in the penultimate over for 6 and pretty soon, the hosts were done and dusted as the skipper castled the last man Plunkett in the last over. The Brathwaite-led side won the match by 21 runs and rather comprehensively at the end.
England won the toss and opted to bowl first
Windies: 176/9 in 20 overs
Evin Lewis 51, Chris Gayle 40
Adil Rashid 25/3, Liam Plunkett 27/3
England: 155/10 in 19.3 overs
Alex Hales 43, Jos Buttler 30
Carlos Brathwaite 20/3, Kesrick Williams 35/3
Windies won by 21 runs
Player of the Match: Sunil Narine