West Indies outplayed South Africa to take a 1-0 lead in the CG Insurance T20 Series on Saturday. The two-time T20 World Champions won by eight wickets with a whopping 30 balls to spare at the Grenada National Stadium. Evin Lewis led the charge – he hit seven massive sixes to score 71 off 35 balls in an opening partnership of 85 with Andre Fletcher, who made 30 on his home soil.
Lewis was named the CG Insurance Player-of-the-Match.
The destructive opener said:
“I always have confidence. This is an excellent pitch for batting here in Grenada. Once I see balls in my areas, I try to hit it, but also to play it smart and look for the singles as well.
I tried to give a good start with Fletcher in the powerplay overs. If I score 70-something and the teams wins … I’m happy,” “It’s a pretty good start, getting a winning start is very good for us.”
After the openers fell, Andre Russell and Chris Gayle took the home side to victory with an unbroken partnership of 37 in three overs. Playing his 50th T20I for West Indies, the talismanic Russell smashed his first ball for six into the Murray/Lewis Stand. He ended the match with another superb maxium as the West Indies sped to 161-2 off 15 overs. He ended on 23 not out, while Gayle made 32 not out.
West Indies captain Kieron Pollard said.
“Winning the game with overs to spare and wickets in hand I think that’s a start for us. But it’s just one game of a five-match series so we can’t get too much ahead of ourselves,”
Sent in earlier, the Proteas got an unbeaten 56 off 38 balls from Rassie van der Dussen as they started well, but then stuttered to end on 160-6 off their 20 overs. Opener Quinton de Kock chipped in with a breezy 24-ball 37 while captain Temba Bavuma got 22 off 20 balls but no other batsman managed to pass 20.
Left-arm spinner Fabian Allen was excellent with 2-18 from his four overs while seamer Dwayne Bravo claimed two wickets in the penultimate over, to finish with 2-30 from his four overs.
Facing a required run rate of eight runs per over, the warning signs flickered early when Lewis launched the first of his seven sixes over mid-wicket, off the fifth delivery of the first over bowled by left-arm spinner George Linde. And he continued his assault in the next over from Kagiso Rabada, smashing two leg-side fours and a six in an over which leaked 15 runs and put South Africa on the back foot.
Lewis, who counted four fours overall, moved into the 40s with two successive sixes off pacer Lungi Ngidi in the fourth over before reaching his landmark with an astonishing straight hit for six off the same bowler in the seventh over.
Playing on home soil, Fletcher punched three fours and two sixes before Ngidi’s direct hit at the bowler’s end ended his knock in the eighth over, and Lewis added a further 39 with Gayle before finally holing out to long off in the 12th over off left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.
Gayle opened up with two consecutive sixes off Hendricks in the 11th over, the off-spinner’s only over brought a whopping 21 runs. Entering at Number 4 in his 50th T20I, Russell put the finishing touches on by blasting a four and three sixes – the last of which easily cleared the mid-wicket fence off Ngidi and ended the game.
The two teams return to the same venue on Sunday for the second CG Insurance T20 International. First ball is 2pm (1pm Jamaica Time).