In the eight Twenty20 Internationals Evin Lewis has played so far, he has blown hot and cold. The fact that he can flay attacks with ease was on show when he slammed a century in only his second game against India in Florida after being dismissed for a duck on debut. But what followed were scores of 7, 3, 1, 10 and 3.
With West Indies already 0-2 down in the four-match T20I series against Pakistan, they needed someone from the top order to step up and keep the series alive after two disappointing batting performances. Lewis took that opportunity and slammed a 51-ball 91 in the third T20I to lift the team to a seven-wicket win on Saturday (April 1) and keep them alive in the series.
The flamboyant opener said low scores in the previous games didn’t put too much pressure on him. “The first two games, you know, run out, I had a long think last night,” Lewis said. “I didn’t put pressure on myself. That’s how the game goes at times. I know once I bat at least five overs, I will get that score. I’ve been staying positive.”
Lewis revealed he didn’t have any specific plans for Shadab Khan, the legspinner who left them in a tangle in the first two games. “There was no big plan against him. I held back myself I don’t really play bowlers, on my day I can hit any bowler. So I held back myself, and I went on to (score) runs today. Just put him under a bit of pressure when he bowled a bad ball.”
While Lewis lifted his team to a morale-boosting win, Pakistan were left to rue losing wickets at crucial intervals. After they were reduced to 4 for 2 in the first over, Kamran Akmal and Babar Azam helped them recover with an 88-run stand. However, the visitors then slipped to 115 for 5 from 92 to 2, losing momentum in the death overs. As a result, they had to settle for a modest total of 137 for 8.
Mickey Arthur, the Pakistan coach, acknowledged they missed an opportunity to close the series. “For us it was an opportunity to close out a series and we didn’t do that,” he said. “We’ve put ourselves under pressure, we can’t lose the series, but still we’ve put ourselves under pressure for tomorrow.
“It was a really good partnership between Babar and Kamran. They played really well on this wicket. We set ourselves up for 160-165 at one stage and then we lost six wickets for 45, and that’s a massive mountain to climb. In the last four overs we only got 19 , those are stats we can’t afford in games like these. So we’ll continue working on that.”
Arthur, though, felt Pakistan can still put West Indies under pressure with some smart running between the wickets. “We don’t have those massive boundary-hitters, so we’ve got to find another way to score runs,” he pointed out. “To do that we’ve got to be running hard between wickets and we’ve got to be putting the opposition under pressure that way.”
The two teams will now play the fourth and final T20I at the same venue, before playing three One-Day Internationals and three Tests.