Lewis’s fiery 91 keeps West Indies in the hunt

You associate the West Indies players with that not-bothered-at-all look but once in the zone, they can put their opponents in a spot of bother, without even batting an eyelid. Perhaps, Evin Lewis doesn’t look as remorseless as some of the other renowned big hitters from his country do, but his hitting abilities are second to none. Setting out to chase 138 on Saturday (April 1) in the third T20I, West Indies had a point to prove in front of their own people, and Lewis went about his business with assured nonchalance. His 51-ball 91 which included nine sixes and five fours was enough to sink Pakistan, to reduce the series margin to 1-2 with another game to play.

Having won the toss and elected to bat first on a wicket that looked good, Pakistan chose the worst possible start, losing both Ahmed Shehzad and Imad Wasim inside the first four deliveries of the game. Samuel Badree put his great discipline to use and hit the straps right from the word go. However, Kamran Akmal, who was anxious to prove himself at the top level, got into a sturdy partnership with Babar Azam.

While Pakistan were reduced to 4 for 2 in no time, both Akmal and Azam didn’t shy away from playing their shots, finding the fence often and running hard between the wickets. The fifty of the partnership was up by the eighth over with Akmal changing gears swiftly. He went after Narine in the tenth over hitting him for a six and a four. Akmal though fell prey to a juicy full toss as he sent a heave straight down the throat of the deep mid-wicket fielder. Shoaib Malik, who walked in next, was dropped by Carlos Brathwaite off his own bowling, but a couple of balls later, he perished while trying to flick it over the fence.

Azam, much like his partner Akmal, fell short of a fifty before West Indies roared back with a quick slew of wickets to keep the tourists to 137.

In reply, West Indies were jolted early as Chadwick Walton fell much like Shoaib Malik did in the first half, flicking one uppishly to the square leg fielder in the deep. Lewis was joined in by Marlon Samuels but it was a one-way road from there on. Lewis stood right in the way of the Pakistan bowlers, starting with a couple of streaky boundaries in the fourth over. But immediately in the next over, Lewis chose Wasim to hit him for two back to back sixes and he never looked back from there on.

West Indies’ fifty came up in the seventh over, and although Samuels got out soon after, Lewis took on the bowlers without showing any relent. His fifty came off just 34 balls when he slog swept the star of the show from the second T20I, Shadab Khan for a six. Another 24-run over brought West Indies close to the finish line but with only one shot away, Lewis miscued a heave to long off. Lendl Simmons needed only one delivery to hit it straight down the ground and finish the formalities. Lewis’s 91, which came at a neck-break pace, never allowed Pakistan a chance to come back in the second innings at all.

Brief Scores: Pakistan 137/8 in 20 overs (Kamran Akmal 48, Babar Azam 43; Samuel Badree 2-22) lost to West Indies 138/3 in 14.5 overs (Evin Lewis 91; Wahab Riaz 1-6) by seven wickets.

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