Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Samuels hammered 10 boundaries during his spectacular knock of 69
West Indies all-rounder Marlon Samuels smashed a stunning half-century and took two wickets to help his side cruise past England by 27 runs in first Twenty20 International in Barbados.
Samuels was well supported by opening batsman Chris Gayle, who smashed 43 runs, and spinner Samuel Badree, who snapped up three wickets.
West Indies captain Darren Sammy would have been delighted with his decision to bat first as the opening pair of Dwayne Smith and Gayle amassed a 57-run partnership before Smith was clean bowled by Ravi Bopara for 27.
Gayle ended up making 43 off 35 balls, which included five boundaries and two sixes, before he was given out lbw off the bowling of James Tredwell.
Lendl Simmons only made three runs before he was caught by Michael Lumb at long-on off the bowling of Bopara.
Samuels and Andre Russell stabilised the innings with an unbeaten 58-run partnership, during which Samuels brought up his half-century.
Thanks to Samuels and Russell’s brilliant partnership, the West Indies ended up reaching 170/3 at the end of their 20 overs.
Samuels finished on 69 off 46 balls, which included 10 boundaries and a six, while Russell remained undefeated on 24 off 15 deliveries, which included two boundaries and a six.
Bopara was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Tredwell chipped in with one.
Chasing 171 to win, England got off to a horrible start as opening batsman Alex Hales was stumped by Denesh Ramdin off the bowling of Badree for three runs.
Badree struck again the very next delivery as Luke Wright was also stumped by Ramdin to be dismissed for a golden duck.
Lumb managed to make 18 runs before he was caught by Ravi Rampaul at deep backward square leg off the bowling of Badree.
Jos Buttler failed to trouble the scorers as he was caught by Johnson Charles, who was the substitute fielder, off the bowling of Sunil Narine.
Eoin Morgan scored 19 runs before he was brilliantly caught by Charles at deep midwicket off the bowling of Samuels.
Ben Stokes only made four runs before he was stumped by Ramdin off the bowling of Samuels.
Bopara smashed 42 off 24 balls, which included five boundaries and a six, before he was caught and bowled by Dwayne Bravo.
England skipper Stuart Broad only made five runs before he was run out by Ramdin.
Tredwell fared no better as he scored one run before being run out by Russell.
Tim Bresnan remained unbeaten on 47 off 29 balls, which included five boundaries and a six, as England fell 27 runs short of their target.
Badree was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Samuels picked up two and Bravo and Narine chipped in with one wicket each.
Broad was disappointed to have lost the match, and said: “A lot of the seam bowler’s economy rates were higher; [the] last time we played here it wasn’t like that. We’ll have to take that into consideration for the next game.
“We didn’t get going today, but that can happen in T20 when you are chasing a good score. I’ve got a touch of patellar tendonitis and may not play the next two games [in order] to get ready for the World T20.”
Sammy was pleased to have taken a 1-0 lead, and said: “That’s what we asked for and in front of a full house we played a good game. The start from Smith and Gayle allowed Samuels to play himself in. [On Narine] He’s being looked after, so fingers crossed everything is alright.”
Samuels was named Man of the Match for his all-round performance, and said: “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.”