A disastrous start to its chase saw defending champion England slide to a 15-run defeat to West Indies in the second match of the Super Eight stage of the ICC World Twenty20 here on Thursday.
Ravi Rampaul, who was at the receiving end in the group game against Australia, conquered his demons to put West Indies on the offensive in the very first over of the England innings. He accounted for Craig Kieswetter and Luke Wright off successive balls.
A breath-taking catch by Kieron Pollard, just when Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow were rebuilding the innings — Pollard running in from long-on jumped with his hands at full stretch and head angled up to watch the ball rest in his palms inches away from the boundary line — reduced England to 55 for 3 by the 10th over.
Then Hales, who had a reprieve when Denesh Ramdin missed a stumping opportunity, and Eoin Morgan, who could have been ‘Mankaded’ by Gayle, put up England’s highest fourth wicket stand (107) to take the team close to victory.
Earlier, openers Johnson Charles 84 and Chris Gayle put on a century partnership in 63 balls to give West Indies a flying start.
But the later order batsmen failed to capitalise and West Indies finally set a target of 180. England’s highest run chase in a World T20 is 173 so far. It has done it twice; both times against the West Indies.
Choosing to bat first on a track where the first match of the Super Eight was played, West Indies made a good start, putting on 47 in the six Power Play overs.
In fact, Gayle did not hit his first six till the eighth over when spinner Samit Patel came on. Three of the left-arm spinner’s deliveries sailed way over the ropes as Gayle took a liking to his variety of bowling.
At the other end, Charles took on Graeme Swann, hitting him for a boundary and two sixes. That was Swann’s most expensive over — it went for 18.
Then came the chances. Swann, arguably the best spinner on view, dropped one a shade short. Charles went with his stroke and ended up lofting to long off where Finn dropped him.
Gayle had changed ends by then. The next ball, Gayle repeated Charles’ stroke and it again went to Finn. This time though, he made no mistake.
Charles finally went lofting a low full toss from Dernbach to Bairstow at mid on. Just before he got out, Pollard came and went, hitting skyward a length delivery from Finn. Wright at deep point waited for ages before the ball came down and nestled in his safe hands.
West Indies included Dwayne Bravo, who has recovered from a groin strain, and leggie Samuel Badree in place of Darren Bravo and Fidel Edwards.
England opted to go in with spinner Samit Patel instead of paceman Tim Bresnan.
West Indies: J. Charles c Bairstow b Dernbach 84 (56b, 10x4, 3x6), C. Gayle c Finn b Swann 58 (35b, 6x4, 4x6), M. Samuels c Morgan b Broad 2 (8b), K. Pollard c Wright b Finn 1 (5b), D. Bravo (not out) 11 (8b, 2x4), D. Sammy b Broad 4 (3b), A. Russell (not out) 10 (5b, 2x4); Extras (b-1, lb-7, w-1): 9; Total (for five wkts. in 20 overs): 179.
Fall of wickets: 1-103 (Gayle), 2-118 (Samuels), 3-128 (Pollard), 4-154 (Charles), 5-158 (Sammy).
England bowling: Finn 4-0-26-1, Dernbach 4-0-38-1, Broad 4-1-26-2, Swann 3-0-32-1, Patel 4-0-38-0, Wright 1-0-11-0.
England: C. Kieswetter c Pollard b Rampaul 0 (2b), A. Hales st Ramdin b Samuels 68 (51b, 5x4, 2x6), L. Wright c Gayle b Rampaul 0 (1b), J. Bairstow C Pollard b Gayle 18 (29b, 2x4), E. Morgan (not out) 71 (36b, 4x4, 5x6), J. Buttler (not out) 1 (1b); Extras (b-1, lb-1, w-4): 6; Total (for 4 wickets in 20 overs): 164.
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Kieswetter), 2-0 (Wright), 3-55 (Bairstow), 4-162 (Hales).
West Indies bowling: Rampaul 4-1-37-2, Badree 4-0-20-0, Narine 4-0-33-0, Sammy 1-0-13-0, Gayle 4-0-27-1, Samuels 3-0-32-1.
Man-of-the-match: Johnson Charles.