Fort Lauderdale: The West Indies defeated India by one run in a record-laden Twenty20 clash on Saturday after piling up the third highest ever total in the game’s shortest format. Set 246 to win, India needed two runs off the last ball for a famous victory in the Florida sunshine. But skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni could only slice a Dwayne Bravo delivery into the hands of Marlon Samuels at short third-man to leave India agonisingly on 244 for four.
K.L. Rahul was unbeaten on 110 in just his fourth T20I, hitting 12 fours and five sixes. He shared a 107-run partnership with Dhoni. The West Indies’ total of 245 for six was just short of Australia’s 248 against England in Southampton in 2013 while Sri Lanka’s 260 against Kenya in Johannesburg in 2007 remains the highest ever T20I total.
Evin Lewis smashed a 100 and Johnson Charles hit 79 as the West Indies laid the foundation for victory in Carlos Brathwaite’s first game as skipper. The 24-year-old Lewis, whose only other appearance in the game’s shortest form had ended with a duck in the shock defeat to Afghanistan at the World Twenty20 this year, feasted on perfect batting conditions at the Florida venue.
Lewis, standing in for the injured Chris Gayle, made exactly 100 off 48 balls with five fours and nine sixes, and when he was out off the fifth ball of the 16th over, the West Indies was 205 for three. It was the fifth fastest T20I century.
The highlight of Lewis’s innings was hitting five sixes off a Stuart Binny over, all of which sailed over the boundary on the back of a stiff breeze. With fellow opener Johnson Charles, Lewis put on 126, steering the West Indies past the 100-run mark by the eighth over.
The 27-year-old Charles reached his 50 off only 20 balls before he became the first man out, bowled by seamer Mohammed Shami for a lightning 79 off 33 deliveries. Charles’s innings featured six fours and seven sixes, and when he fell in the 10th over, the West Indies was well-placed at 126 for one.
The West Indies reached the halfway mark of its innings in record style — its 132 runs beat the previous best of 131 by South Africa against England at Centurion in 2009. Andre Russell (22) and Kieron Pollard (22) chipped in with late cameos.
Ajinkya Rahane was pushed up the order to open for India as it embarked on the pursuit, but the experiment backfired when he was out, caught by Bravo in the deep, for seven off seven balls in the third over.
Virat Kohli was caught down the leg side by wicketkeeper Andre Fletcher off Bravo for just 16 with the total on 48. But Rahul, dropped on 38 by Andre Russell, and Rohit Sharma put on 89 for the third wicket as India stepped on the gas. Rohit was eventually out for 62 off 28 balls with four boundaries and four sixes. From 137 for three in the 12th over, India reached 150 in the following over.
Dhoni joined Rahul, and they took the score past 200 in the 17th over before they eventually fell just short of their target.