GROS ISLET, Saint Lucia – West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran spoke to CWI Media after the first match in the Sandals Twenty20 International Series. The left-hander made a stroke-filled half century, but England won by four wickets at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground.
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The 23-year-old made a career-best 58 with three fours and four sixes from 37 balls to be the bright spark in the Windies total of 160-8 eight off their 20 overs. England replied with 161-6 off 18.5 overs to win with seven balls to spare.
The left-hander’s most memorable strokes were a six over wide long-on off Liam Plunkett which disappeared over the Johnson Charles Stand in the 10th over in the evening twilight and a switch-hit over mid-wicket off leg-spinner Joe Denly into the same vicinity in the 17th over.
Playing his ninth T20 International, Pooran reached his 50 from 32 balls, when he drove Denly for a single to deep mid-on for his second half century in this format. The knock surpassed his previous best of 53 not out off 25 balls against India in Chennai last November. He shared a crucial stand of 64 for the fourth wicket with Daren Bravo, who made 28 off 30 balls, before he was superb caught-and-bowled by Chris Jordan.
England best bowler was Tom Curran, who took 4-36, while their leading batsman was Jonny Bairstow, who made a career-best 68 off 40 balls to win the Sandals Player of the Match award. In the bowling for the Windies, left-arm seamer Sheldon Cottrell (3-29) was again impressive as he captured wickets with the new ball.
“I felt quite confident while I was batting. We lost three wickets up front so I knew I had to do a repair job with Bravo and get the innings back on track. I felt we did a good job and I was able to push on when the time was right,” Pooran said.
“I’m looking to make the most of every opportunity I get. We’re 1-0 down with two more matches to go and we believe we can bounce back and win the series. We are the world champions in T20, and we have some great players in our team. Whatever I have to do to get a win for my team is first priority.”
The two teams now travel to St Kitts for the conclusion of the series. The second Sandals T20 International will be played at Warner Park on Friday. First ball in the day/night contest of 4pm (3pm Jamaica Time/8pm GMT).
1st Sandals Twenty20 International
Daren Sammy Cricket Ground – Tuesday, March 5
England won by 4 wickets
2nd Sandals Twenty20 International
Warner Park – Friday, March 8
3rd Sandals Twenty20 International
Warner Park – Sunday, March 10
Tickets for the matches are on sale at the main ticket booth at the Warner Park. Also available online http://www.windiescricket.comvia the “BuyTickets” button. Local fans can also benefit from a discount when they present their local ID.