West Indies: 196-4 (20 overs)
Sri Lanka: 171 all-out (19.1 overs)
For live cricket scores and commentary, click here.
After getting whitewashed in the ODI series, West Indies made a strong comeback by winning the first T20I by 25 runs, thanks to an amazing five-wicket haul by Oshane Thomas. This match also marked a special landmark for West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard, who played his 500th T20 and crossed the 10,000-run mark in the shortest format.
Chasing a huge target of 197 to win, Sri Lanka got off to a horrible start and were 17-3 in quick time. Oshane Thomas was the chief destroyer as he created havoc with the new ball, taking three wickets in a single over. Kusal Perera battled hard and found an able partner down the order in the form of Wanindu Hasaranga. The duo added 87 runs and gave some hope of revival for Sri Lanka. But Perera's wicket on 66 was the final nail in the coffin as Sri Lanka got bowled out in the 20th over with 171 on the board, falling 25 runs short.
Also see – RCB Team
Earlier, West Indies opted to bat first and got an amazing start from openers Lendl Simmons and Brandon King. Simmons remained unbeaten till the end of the innings on 67 off 51 balls while King added 33 runs to the opening stand of 74. Andre Russell then played an amazing cameo of 35 off just 14 balls which included two fours and four sixes. It was then followed by Pollard's cameo of 34 which took just 15 balls and included three fours and two sixes. Due to these small cameos and with Lendl Simmons keeping one end ticking, West Indies reached a total of 196-4 in their 20 overs.
Simmons' classy 67*
Lendl Simmons had got a place in the squad with Evin Lewis and the 'Universe Boss' Chris Gayle both missing out. He has always been underrated and again proved his worth at a time when his team needed a good start. Simmons took full advantage of the field restrictions and started to pierce gaps and find boundaries. He let the likes of Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard play their natural game at the other end by keeping one end ticking. He scored an unbeaten 67 off 51 balls which included seven fours and two sixes and helped West Indies reach a total of 196 in their 20 overs.
Oshane Thomas rocks the Sri Lankan batting
Sri Lanka needed a good start to have any hopes of chasing down the target of 197. But all the hopes of that happening were shattered by Oshane Thomas as he breathed fire from his very first over. He got Avishka Fernando, Shehan Jayasuriya, and Kusal Mendis all out in the same over and Sri Lanka suddenly slumped from 16-0 to 17-3.
Their hopes were now on the experienced Angelo Mathews to build a partnership with Kusal Perera and bail them out of trouble. However, Thomas piled on the misery as he first got Mathews caught by Russell and then cleaned up Dasun Shanaka to grab a fifer. He bowled just three overs and bagged brilliant figures of 5/28.
The game was closer than the scoreline suggests as Sri Lanka were in the game till Kusal Perera was batting. Thus, Oshane Thomas' brilliant spell was the difference between the sides, earning him the Player of the Match award.
Here were his thoughts after the game:
It's a great feeling to be back in the Windies side and winning. I was trying to bowl hard lengths and trying to keep it straight, not giving the batsman any room. Our plan was to bowl short and it was working today.