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Lewis powers WI to fifth T20I win over Australia and bag series 4-1

West Indies men's cricket team after the T20I series win against Australia at the Daren Sammy Stadium in Gros Islet on July 16, 2021. Photo: Windiescricket

Gros Islet (St Lucia), July 17 (MNN) A power-packed innings from Evin Lewis helped West Indies to a 16-run victory over Australia in the fifth and final T20I against Australia and seal the series 4-1 in the hosts’ favour.

It must be a confidence-boosting performance for the West Indies ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup, as Australia would be their Super 12 group opponents.

Electing to bat, West Indies set Australia a target of 200 to win, thanks to a 34-ball 79 from Lewis and then held the tourists to 183/9, with an incredible Fabian Allen catch triggering Australia’s collapse with the bat at the Daren Sammy Stadium here.

The hosts raced out of the blocks, scoring 40 runs in the first four overs before Adam Zampa (2/30) bowled Andre Fletcher for 12.

That was the leggie’s first delivery of the match, but his day quickly took an ugly turn as Chris Gayle collected 20 runs from the first five balls he faced, hitting Zampa for two fours and two sixes.

Lewis, who had already hit three sixes and a four by that stage, then hit two more sixes and two more fours in a single 21-run over from Jason Behrendorff (0/46).

Mitchell Swepson’s (1/41) introduction brought an end to Gayle’s innings on 21, but there was no stopping Lewis, who reached his half-century in 23 balls in the eighth over. He celebrated the fifty by hitting four consecutive sixes across two overs from Andrew Tye (3/37) and Swepson.

Needing to change something to stem the flow of runs, Aaron Finch turned to his most reliable performer in the series, and Mitchell Marsh (2/12) delivered by removing Lewis in the 11th over.

The opener departed having hit four fours and nine sixes to become the seventh batter to ever hit 100 T20I sixes.

Marsh struck again in the 15th over to dismiss Lendl Simmons (21) but the man Australia needed to remove was Nicholas Pooran, who had carried on where Lewis had left off.

The West Indies captain was sitting on 27 off 13 going into the final four overs, with West Indies 173/5 and eying a total well in excess of 200.

Instead, the Australians managed to stop the damage, with Pooran eventually out for 31 in the 18th and West Indies held to 199/8 from their 20 overs.

Despite the early loss of Josh Philippe (0) and Marsh (30), the Australians looked on course in the 10th over, with a 49-run stand between Finch (34) and Moises Henriques (21) taking them to 95/2.

Two wickets in the same over proved the game’s decisive moment. The first man out was Finch, caught incredibly by Allen for 34. Muscling a full toss from Hayden Walsh Jr (1/43) to long-on, Finch could only watch on as Allen ran at full tilt to his left, dived and held onto a ridiculous grab with his left hand.

Two balls later, Pooran produced another impressive effort in the field, sprinting from his position as keeper to short midwicket before throwing down the striker’s stumps with a direct hit to remove Henriques for 21.

The Australian innings failed to get going from there as regular wickets repeatedly stalled momentum, with Josh Hazlewood’s five-ball 13 not out required to bring the margin of defeat under 20 runs.

Having completed their five-match T20I series, the two teams will now turn their attention to the 50-over format, with the ODI series commencing on Tuesday.

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