West Indies showed why they are world champions in the T20 format with a thoroughly professional display against England in their first T20 International at Kensington Oval yesterday.
Scores: West Indies 170/3 (20) vs England 143/9 (20).
Marlon Samuels returned to form with both bat and ball to give the home team a 27-run victory in front of a packed house in Bridgetown. Firstly, he slammed a quickfire 69, as he, Chris Gayle (43) and Dwayne Smith (27) ripped apart the visitors attack. The West Indies tallied 170 for three and Samuels then returned to take 2/21 to help restrict the Englishmen to 143 for nine off their 20 overs.
T&T's Samuel Badree set the victory in motion with a brilliant display of leg-spin bowling, taking three wickets in his four-over spell. This broke the back of the English and then Samuels and Sunil Narine stepped forward to ensure the win.
Ravi Bopara and Tim Bresnan fought well but England were always behind. Bopara made 42 off 24 balls with five fours and a six, while Bresnan remained unbeaten on 47 off 29 balls with five fours and a six.
Earlier, the West Indies owed their score to a frenetic opening burst by Gayle and Smith. The two hitters were sending signals all over the city, as three balls ended up missing.
The Barmy Army was stopping all along Highway-7 enjoying their Banks Beer. The rustic bars along the way were comforting them as their players were under attack inside the park.
When they finally started to come in singing and walking in not so straight lines, Gayle and Smith were entertaining the home fans.
The Trini fans who packed into Accra Beach Hotel were trading barbs with the English all day and they were the ones waving the flags.
Smith started the punishment in the very first over as he sent the first ball over the Greenidge and Haynes Stand that would have made the former proud. The first over read 6,0,4,4,4,nb, 0 and the battle lines were drawn. At the end of the six-over powerplay the score read 56 without loss.
Soon after the English would have their first success - as Smith who made 27 runs from 18 balls with five fours and one six, received one that nipped back through the gate from Bopara.
Gayle continued to strike the ball and rushed to 43 runs before his 35-ball cameo came to an end. He slammed five fours and two sixes, on his return to the West Indies team.
With Bopara and Tredwell getting the ball to grip on the pitch, run scoring slowed but Samuels was at the same time playing himself in. The elegant right hander changed gears in over number 15 and started to show the kind of form that won the World T20 Trophy for the Windies. He struck Jade Dernbach for five successive fours in the 18th over to end strongly, as he finished unbeaten on 69. He faced just 46 balls hitting 10 fours and a six.
All rounder Andre Russell also joined in the fun to spank an unbeaten 24 off 15 balls with two fours and a six.
The teams return to the venue tomorrow for the second match of the series.
West Indies vs England
D Smith b Bopara 27
C Gayle lbw Tredwell 43
M Samuels not out 69
L Simmons c Lumb b Bopara 3
A Russell not out 24
Extras lb3, nb1 4
Total 3 wkts (20ovs) 170
Fall of wkts: 57, 87, 112.
Bowling: S Broad 2-0-26-0, J Dernbach 4-0-36-0, T Bresnan 4-0-36-0, B Stokes 2-0-30-0, R Bopara 4-0-23-2, J Tredwell 4-0-16-1.
M Lumb c Rampaul b Badree 18
A Hales st Ramdin b Badree 3
L Wright st Ramdin b Badree 0
E Morgan c sub Charles b Samuels 19
J Butler c sub Charles b Narine 0
R Bopara c & b Bravo 42
B Stokes st Ramdin b Samuels 4
T Bresnan not out 47
C Broad run out 5
J Tredwell run out 1
J Dernbach not out 1
Extras b1, lb2 3
Total 9 wkts (20ovs) 143
Fall of wkts: 13, 13, 36, 40, 55, 73, 101, 123, 133.
Bowling: S Badree 4-0-17-3, R Rampaul 3-0-31-0, S Narine 2-0-8-1, D Bravo 4-0-30-1, M Samuels 4-0-21-2, D Sammy 1-0-12-0.
Result: West Indies won by 27 runs. Leads 3-match series 1-0. Man of the match: Marlon Samuels.?