Lewis ton car­ries West Indies to thump­ing win

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

KINGSTON: Evin Lewis blazed his sec­ond hun­dred against In­dia to lead the West Indies to a ram­pag­ing nine-wicket vic­tory in the one-off T20 in­ter­na­tional at Sabina Park on Sun­day. Re­ply­ing to the tourists’ chal­leng­ing to­tal of 190 for six, Lewis stole the spotlight from re­turn­ing lo­cal hero Chris Gayle with a blis­ter­ing un­beaten 125 in tak­ing the home side to 194 for one with nine balls to spare.

It was the first T20 in­ter­na­tional hun­dred scored by a West In­dian in the Caribbean, and puts the left-handed opener along­side Gayle and New Zealand’s Bren­don McCul­lum as the only play­ers to have scored more than one cen­tury in the in­ter­na­tional for­mat of the game. Lewis’ in­nings was high­lighted by 12 tow­er­ing sixes and six fours off only 62 de­liv­er­ies.

This mem­o­rable knock came 11 months af­ter he com­piled an even 100 against the same op­po­nents in Fort Laud­erdale, where the West Indies sneaked a one-run win a high-scor­ing en­counter. He com­pletely dom­i­nated an 82-run open­ing stand with Gayle, who fell to debu­tant Kuldeep Ya­dav for 18 in the ninth over.

Mar­lon Sa­muels then sup­ported Lewis’ ex­plo­sive in­nings with an as­sured un­beaten 36 off 29 de­liv­er­ies as their un­bro­ken sec­ond-wicket stand of 112 saw the West Indies home in the 19th over. Lewis fit­tingly ended the con­test with an­other swing for six off spin­ner Ravin­dra Jadeja to achieve the high­est in­di­vid­ual score in a T20 in­ter­na­tional chase.

“It was at the back of my mind that I didn’t get a score in the one-day­ers but I just be­lieve in back­ing my­self and play­ing my style of game,” said a de­lighted Lewis af­ter re­ceiv­ing the man-of-the-match award. “This is a very good bowl­ing team so any runs you get against them is re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated.”

As well as the 25-year-old from Trinidad and Tobago played though, In­dia did not help their cause by twice drop­ping him in the deep as he ap­proached the half-cen­tury mark, Mo­ham­mad Shami and Di­nesh Karthik the cul­prits in the field.

Ma­hen­dra Singh Dhoni also missed a stump­ing chance when Gayle was on one while Sa­muels ben­e­fited from a cou­ple of nar­row escapes in what was an un­tidy ef­fort by In­dia in the field. Ear­lier, In­dian cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli (39 off 22 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (23 off 12) led the charge af­ter they were sent in to bat by Car­los Brath­waite, the pair putting on 64 for the first wicket un­til both fell in the sixth over of the in­nings to Kes­rick Wil­liams.

In just his sec­ond T20 in­ter­na­tional, Rishabh Pant strug­gled to get go­ing but it was the ex­pe­ri­enced Karthik who dom­i­nated an 86-run third-wicket stand be­fore he fell for 48, bowled be­hind his legs by Sa­muels. His in­nings oc­cu­pied just 29 de­liv­er­ies and in­cluded three sixes and five fours.

De­spite his dis­missal at 151 for three in the 16th over, In­dia still looked on course for a to­tal in ex­cess of 200. How­ever Jerome Tay­lor re­moved both Dhoni and Pant (38 off 35 balls) off suc­ces­sive de­liv­er­ies, while Wil­liams claimed his sec­ond wicket when he ac­counted for Kedar Jadhav via a fine div­ing catch by Su­nil Narine com­ing off the back­ward-point bound­ary.

“We fell about 30 runs short with the bat and if you don’t grab your chances in the field you don’t de­serve to win,” said an ob­vi­ously dis­ap­pointed Kohli. “Some­one at the top of the or­der should have got­ten at least 80-90 to take us up to 220-plus. But all these games are good in­di­ca­tors as to how some our guys re­spond to pres­sure sit­u­a­tions.”

De­spite be­ing out­played 3-1 in the pre­ced­ing one-day in­ter­na­tional se­ries, there is a sense of an­tic­i­pa­tion for the re­turn of Gayle, the big-hit­ting open­ing bats­man whose last ap­pear­ance for the re­gional side was at the World T20 fi­nal against Eng­land in Kolkata 15 months ago.

In­dia were forced to make a late change to their 11 as all-rounder Hardik Pandya picked up an in­jury in the morn­ing warmups with Jadeja tak­ing his place. — AFP

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