WI v PAK, 3rd T20I Review: Evin Lewis storm keeps Windies afloat in the series

Evin Lewis scored a belligerent 91 off 51 deliveries with 5 fours and 9 sixes to help West Indies win the third T20I by 7 wickets.

West Indies
West Indies’ Evin Lewis scored a 51-ball 91-run knock. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

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After registering a narrow win over the West Indies in the second T20I of the 4-match series, Pakistan ensured that they had an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. As the action moved to the third match of the series, the visitors had total domination on their minds. On the other hand, for the struggling hosts, it was all about survival. West Indies had nothing but pride to play for. Their recent performances in the England series and now in the ongoing series not only disappointed the players but their fans too. The fans at the venues have been pretty loyal to come out in support of the home side despite them being misfiring.

Amidst this backdrop came the third T20I as the action stayed at the same venue of Queen’s Park Oval at Port of Spain where the second T20I was played. It was Pakistani skipper Sarfraz Ahmed who won the toss and opted to bat first. He made no changes in the playing eleven and the winning combination was something that Pakistan stuck with. West Indies handed the debut to Jason Mohammed.

In walked Ahmed Shehzad and Kamran Akmal to open the innings for the visitors as Samuel Badree took the new ball. The visitors had a horrid start to their innings as Badree struck twice in the very first over to leave the Pakistani side dented at 4/2 with four balls being bowled in the match. Badree cleaned up Shehzad on 4 on the second ball of the match. Imad Wasim was promoted at number three but that ended up being a failed experiment as he could manage only a duck on the day and lasted just 2 balls.

Babar Azam joined Kamran at the crease. Both batsmen showed great maturity to take the visitors out of hot waters. They kept the run flow going and managed to put up 42 runs in the powerplay. Both batsmen soon gained pace and took the Pakistani side to a launch pad score of 92/2 in 12 overs. It was just then that the partnership of 88 runs was broken by Marlon Samuels. Kamran Akmal was the man dismissed on 48 that came off 37 deliveries with 4 fours and a couple of sixes. An over later, Shoaib Malik was sent packing on 2 by Windies skipper Carlos Brathwaite.

Babar Azam’s 38-ball 43 came to an end soon after as Sunil Narine managed to get through his defenses in the 16th over. It was a stunning comeback from the West Indies side that saw wickets tumbling like ten pins. A late 21-ball 21 from Fakhar Zaman propelled the Pakistan total to 137/8 in their stipulated 20 overs. Badree was the pick of the bowlers with 2/22 to his name in his quota of 4 overs.

The run chase was not a very stiff ask but having seen the Windies choke up big time in the previous game, the Pakistani bowlers fancied their chances. They struck early when they sent opener Chadwick Walton back to the pavilion on 1 in the second over of the chase. Evin Lewis was then joined by experienced campaigner Marlon Samuels. Marlon found it tough getting his feet right at the crease but ensured he was a good support to Lewis, who looked in sublime touch on the day.

With 49 runs added in the powerplay, the hosts were well on course for the run chase. A 56-run stand for the second wicket only strengthened their claims. It was Wahab Riaz who broke the partnership in the 8th over when he dismissed Samuels on 18 (19). In walked the debutant Jason Mohammed at number 4. Meanwhile, in the 12th over, Lewis brought up his fifty in style. He clobbered Shadab Khan, the star of the series thus far, for a maximum over deep midwicket.

In the 14th over, it was Sohail Tanvir who faced the heat from the willow of Lewis. The over yielded 24 runs as Lewis hit three towering sixes and a four in the over to almost seal the game for his side. Some anti-climax followed as Lewis was dismissed in the next over with just 4 runs needed for the hosts to win. Shadab Khan got the wicket as Lewis went for the all big glory shot to wrap things up but ended up holing one to long off fielder. He scored a belligerent 91 off 51 deliveries with 5 fours and 9 sixes.

Lendl Simmons was the new man in and he finished off the proceedings by hitting a boundary first up. West Indies won the match by 7 wickets and managed to stay afloat in the series. Pakistan still lead the series 2-1 with a match to go.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 137/8 in 20 overs (Kamran 48, Azam 43, Badree 2/22, Samuels 1/11)

West Indies 138/3 in 14.5 overs (Lewis 91, Samuels 18, Riaz 1/6, Shadab 1/38)