KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Opener Evin Lewis led a brutal assault with a record-breaking hundred as West Indies sensationally battered India to win the one-off Twenty20 International by nine wickets here yesterday.
In pursuit of 191 for victory at Sabina Park, the Caribbean side staged the third-highest successful run chase in their history to get home with nine balls to spare and notch their third victory over India inside the last 15 months.
The left-handed Lewis slammed a scintillating unbeaten 125 off a mere 62 deliveries, belting six fours and 12 giant sixes – the last of which off left-armer Ravi Jadeja sailed over wide long-on and ended the game in style.
He dominated an 82-run, first wicket stand with superstar Chris Gayle who made 18 from 20 balls in his first match for West Indies since last year’s T20 World Cup in India, before adding 112 in an unbroken second partnership with Marlon Samuels who was flamboyant in an unbeaten 36 off 29 deliveries.
With his hundred, Lewis became only the third batsman to score two hundreds in T20 Internationals joining the illustrious company of Gayle and New Zealander Brendon McCullum.
He also eclipsed Gayle’s 117 against South Africa 10 years ago for the highest score by a West Indian in T20 Internationals and overtook Australian Shane Watson for the third highest-ever score.
India had earlier posted a challenging 190 for six off their 20 overs after being sent in, with Dinesh Karthik top-scoring with 48 off 29 deliveries and captain Virat Kohli getting 39 off 22 balls.
Teenager Rishabh Pant, in his third T20I, chipped in with 38 off 35 balls while opener Shikhar Dhawan made a swift 23, but India lost momentum during their innings and never cleared the 200-run mark.
Kohli and Dhawan gave them a lightening quick start, however, racing to 54 without loss after the first five overs as the Windies leaked runs early on.
Kohli had smashed a six and a four off the first two balls of the sixth over from seamer Kesrick Williams when he was deceived by a slower one and taken at mid-on by Sunil Narine.
All told, he struck seven fours and a six.
Two balls later, Williams’s brilliant direct hit at the non-striker’s end following through off his own bowling, accounted for Dhawan, leaving India to regroup.
They did so through an 86-run third wicket stand between Karthik and the 19-year-old Pant, as the visitors put themselves in a strong position on 140 for two with five overs left.
But West Indies hit back, grabbing four wickets for 13 runs in the space of 14 deliveries to leave India on 164 for six at the end of the 18th.
Karthik was third out in the 16th over at 151 for three, bowled by Samuels after striking five fours and three sixes and seamer Jerome Taylor knocked over MS Dhoni (2) and Pant in 17th over, before Williams had Kedar Jadhav (4) brilliantly caught by Narine at deep square at the end of the 18th over.
In reply, West Indies started slowly, managing just 17 runs from the first three overs before Lewis sprang to the life in the fourth over, blasting boundaries off the last three balls as seamer Mohammed Shami’s first over leaked 19 runs.
He clobbered off-spinner Ravi Ashwin for back-to-back sixes in the next over which cost 16 runs before taking another 14 runs from pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s following over.
Lewis, who survived two chances in the deep just five balls apart in separate overs, raced to his half-century off 24 balls when he cleared the ropes at long on with left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav at the start of the seventh over.
Gayle, who punched a four and a six in a sedate knock, top-edged a pull at Kuldeep in the ninth and was caught by wicketkeeper Dhoni but Lewis continued unfazed, needing 28 balls to complete his second fifty.
He marched into the 90s with a straight six off Jadeja, moved to 99 two balls later with a massive six over long off before sprinting a quick single to raise three figures off 52 deliveries and follow up his maiden century against the same team last August in Florida.
Not to be left out, Samuels produced some exquisite strokes, taking 16 from one over from Shami, en route to finishing with five fours and a six.