Associated Press (AP)
Star-studded West Indies side thrash South Africa in the first of five T20s as Australia prepare to depart for the Caribbean.
Evin Lewis smashed a quickfire 71, including a half-century from just 22 balls, to steer the West Indies to a comprehensive eight-wicket win over South Africa in the first of five Twenty20 internationals.
After being sent into bat, South Africa managed a below-par score of 6-160 from their 20 overs on a good batting wicket.
The hosts reached their target with 30 balls to spare and eight wickets in hand.
Lewis needed just 35 balls for his 71, sharing partnerships of 85 for the opening wicket with Andre Fletcher (30 from 19 balls) and 39 for the second with Chris Gayle.
When Lewis was out in the 12th over, the West Indies were 2-124 and within sight of victory.
Gayle and Andre Russell then put on an unbroken 37-run partnership for the third wicket that rounded off the run chase in just 15 overs.
Gayle finished with 34 not out from 24 balls and Russell was 23 from 12 deliveries.
Making the victory even more impressive was the fact power hitters Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, and Jason Holder were not required to bat.
The West Indies’ innings included 15 sixes, seven of which were hit by Lewis.
“I was confident today and backing my ability,” Lewis said.
“This wicket is excellent for batting, it’s important to cash in.
“We felt they were 30 or 40 runs short because these were excellent conditions.
“Andre Fletcher and I just tried to get a good start in the Powerplay, most importantly, and then try and build from there to get the victory.”
Saturday’s match, the first to be played at St George’s in Grenada, was also the first between the West Indies and South Africa since the 2016 Cricket World Cup, which the West Indies won.
South Africa made a solid start, led by the in-form Quinton de Kock who hit 37 from 24 balls and were 2-95 in the 11th over.
Though Rassie van der Dussen batted through the last half of the innings to make 56 from 38 balls, the innings lost momentum.
Left-arm spinner Fabian Allen bowled well early and took 2-18 from four overs while Dwayne Bravo (2-30) stifled any late rally, taking two wickets with consecutive balls in the 19th over.