West Indian cricketer Marlon Samuels in action during the match
West Indian cricketer Marlon Samuels in action during the match
Bridgetown (Barbados): Marlon Samuels’s all-round performance gave West Indies a 1-0 lead in the three-match Twenty20 International series against England with a 27-run victory at Kensington Oval here.

Samuels scored a stroke-filled unbeaten 69 as West Indies reached 170 for three and then restricted England to 143 for nine, taking two wickets Sunday, reports CMC.

With the victory West Indies sent out a challenge to other teams that they are in fine fettle to retain their World T20 title in Bangladesh later in the month, though they have concerns over the fitness of their match-winning spinners Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree.

Narine only bowled two overs and left the field after hurting his right knee in the field while Badree, who claimed three for 17 in his four overs, hurt his fingers of his bowling hand attempting to take a return catch.

“He’s (Narine) is being looked after, so fingers crossed everything is alright,” said West Indies captain Darren Sammy.

The West Indies won the toss and decided to bat first with a challenging start from Smith and Gayle. Smith was off the mark with the first ball, hitting Stuart Broad for six and West Indies piling 19 runs off the first over.

When Smith was bowled by Ravi Bopara for 27 in the sxith over, West Indies were already 57 runs on the board and then Chris Gayle and Samuels provided a showpiece of batting display.

Gayle scored a quickfire 43 off 35 balls, hitting five fours and two sixes before leg before wicket to James Tredwell.

A 54-run partnership from 38 balls between Samuels and Andre Russell took West Indies to 170 after Lendl Simmons was dismissed for three.

Samuels’ half century came up off 28 balls and was unbeaten on 69 with Russell on 24, setting England a challenging 171 for victory.

“I’ve been working hard, it was a wonderful crowd so I had to come out and play. They loved Carl Hooper and I came out to play in his style. It worked out well for us as we have some wonderful spinners,” said Samuels.

Bopara (2-23) and James Tredwell (1-16) were the successful bowlers for England.

The visitors never seriously threatened the Windies’ total and were reeling on 55 for 5 midway through their innings.

Only Tim Bresnan and Ravi Bopara made useful scores to England’s total of 143 for 9. Bopara made 42 and Bresnan was unbeaten on 47 as Samuel Badree and Samuels saw West Indies close in on the victory.
Samuels, who finished with 2 for 21, was the man-of-the-match.

“We didn’t get going, but that’s something that can happen in Twenty20 cricket, especially when you’re chasing a decent score,” said England captain Stuart Broad.

“It’s certainly not something to panic about.”

Broad, however, hinted that he may miss the remaining two matches of the series on Tuesday and Thursday because of tendonitis in his knee.

West Indies will look to take an unassailable lead in the second match Tuesday at the same venue.

Brief scores:
West Indies 170 for three (Marlon Samuels 69 not out, Chris Gayle 43, Dwayne Smith 27, Andre Russell 24; Ravi Bopara 2-23, James Tredwell 1-16).

England 143 for 9 (Tim Bresnan 47 not out, Ravi Bopara 42, Eoin Morgan 19; Samuel Badree 3/17, Marlon Samuels 2/21, Sunil Narine 1/8).

Source: IANS/CMC