West Indies beat England by 20 runs in the third T20I in Bridgetown on Wednesday, with batsman Rovman Powell’s blistering century.
After stand-in England captain Moeen Ali won the toss, Powell’s 107 off 53 balls, as well as his fourth-wicket combination of 122 with Nicholas Pooran (70), pushed the West Indies to an impressive 224-5.
Powell, who was named player of the match, remarked, “I know I can strike the ball good.” “I had an issue with wrist spin, so I went away for the last seven months and worked on it, opening up the off side.”
“Today, everything came out of the middle.”
As England attempted to chase down 225, Tom Banton smashed six sixes in a quick 73 and Phil Salt 57 on his T20 international debut, with Moeen leading a new-look team after regular captain Eoin Morgan pulled his quad during the warm-up.
However, they lost wickets and finished on 204-9 in a match that yielded over 400 runs.
“A magnificent combination snatched the game away from us,” Moeen remarked, “but I’m delighted of how the players batted at the finish.”
Powell’s stunning performance of ball-striking, which included four fours and ten soaring sixes, saw the 28-year-old Jamaican become only the third West Indies batsman to reach a Twenty20 international century, following Evin Lewis and Chris Gayle, who both did so twice.
Salt, fellow batsman Harry Brook, and paceman George Garton were all debutants for England, as was a trio of left-arm quicks in Garton, Reece Topley, and Tymal Mills.
Garton bowled opener Brandon King, but he was repeatedly blasted when he misjudged his length, resulting in a costly 57-run return.
Powell, who replaced Odean Smith in the West Indies XI, hammered his second ball for six and also played several ‘touch’ strokes on his way to three figures.
He got his century in 51 balls and immediately celebrated by yanking Topley out of the ground. However, when he attempted a repeat, he was captured at long-range.
In a 39-ball innings that ended when he holed out off West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard, Banton offered England hope of an unlikely triumph.
Salt reduced the score to 36 with two legal deliveries for six in the final over before being bowled by Romario Shepherd.
When the sides meet again at the Kensington Oval on Saturday, the series will resume.
West Indies are at 224-5 after 20 overs (Rovman Powell 107, Nicholas Pooran 70; Reece Topley 1-30)
England are 204-9 after 20 overs (Tom Banton 73, Phil Salt 57; Romario Shepherd 3-59, Kieron Pollard 2-31)
Result: West Indies won by 20 runs
Series: West Indies lead five-match series 2-1