West Indies courtesy of a brilliant six hitting show won the first Twenty20 International at The Oval. The tourists have recorded their first win over England on this tour with an impressive 15-run win. This was despite Captain Collingwood’s special innings of 79 which had come in 41 balls.
Chris Gayle, the new West Indian Captain won the toss and elected to bat first. He was dismissed very early by James Anderson but his side not only recovered but also got to a wonderful position because of the 2nd wicket partnership between Devon Smith and number 3 Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Both these lefties put on 84 in 8.3 overs to lay the platform. Chanderpaul contributed 41 from 26 balls with 6 fours. Devon Smith was caught at the boundary to give Dimitri Mascarenhas, the medium pacer his first international scalp but not before the batsman had got 61 from 34 with 7 fours and 3 sixes. The rest of the show was all Marlon Samuels who was well supported by the delicate and innovative touches from Denesh Ramdin. Samuels making his debut in this version of the game sizzled with a 26-ball 51 with 3 fours and 4 sixes. One of those sixes was a monster through squareleg coming through a pick up shot off Sidebottom that disappeared out of the ground! Denesh Ramdin got 24 from 13 with 2 fours and an amazing six over covers. West Indies at one stage looked as if they would create a record for the highest total! They had to satisfy themselves with a total of 208 for 8 which is very huge for 20 overs.
England got off to a flier from Cook and Prior but both batsmen falling in the same over spoilt the momentum that was given. England slipped to 48 for 2 in the 5th over. And a bit later the run out of Pietersen was a big blow, cutting his innings down to 16 only. The lone man standing for England was the Captain but it was too much for him to win the match all on his own. England got restricted to 193 for 7. His efforts were outstanding with the 79 runs coming at almost two runs a ball rate. His knock came with 5 fours and 4 sixes. Collingwood’s innings was so good that he got the Man of the Match award instead of Devon Smith or Marlon Samuels. Among the West Indian bowlers, Dwayne Smith bowled superbly taking 3 for 24 in his 4. The second and final Twenty20 match is tomorrow.