Dropped catches hurt Windies in T20I
GROS ISLET, St Lucia (CMC):
Nicholas Pooran’s career-best half-century was overshadowed by a shoddy Windies fielding effort as England rode their luck to breeze to a four-wicket win in the opening Twenty20 International (T20I) of the three-match series here yesterday.
Defending 161 at the Darren Sammy National Stadium after the left-handed Pooran slammed a top score of 58, the hosts grassed four chances and England capitalised to reach their target with seven deliveries remaining.
Man-of-the-Match Jonny Bairstow stroked 68 off 40 deliveries, while Joe Denly chipped in with 30 off 29 balls as the visitors took a huge stride towards their first series win of an otherwise disappointing tour.
Left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell, who finished with three for 29, created some late drama when he bowled Sam Billings at the start of the penultimate over for 18, but the strike came too little for the Windies as the pair of Tom Curran and David Willey easily got the remaining seven runs for victory.
Sent in earlier, West Indies were spearheaded to their 160 for eight by Pooran’s entertaining knock, while left-hander Darren Bravo stroked 30.
Seamer Curran produced career-best figures when he picked up four for 36, while Barbados-born medium pacer Chris Jordan was brilliant in taking two for 16 from three overs.
West Indies needed the efforts of Pooran and Bravo to pull themselves out of a hole, after they lost their first three cheaply with 37 on the board at the end of the fifth over.
Shai Hope failed to make the most of a chance to Adil Rashid at third man off the third ball of the innings when he had made four and perished in the next over caught at midwicket by Joe Root off Curran for six.
The left-handed Gayle then whacked a couple of sixes in the third over from Willey, the first a clip off his legs over midwicket and the second, an uppercut to third man.
But he failed to extend his rich form from the one-day series and fell in the next over to Jordan, squeezing a full-length delivery to Rashid at short third man with 31 runs on the board.