Image courtesy of: Zimbio
West Indies opener Evin Lewis struck an entertaining 26-ball 58 to lead his side to a comprehensive 72-run win over the ICC World XI in the Hurricane Relief T20 Challenge at Lord’s.
The one-off Twenty20 International helped raise funds for five cricket grounds in the Caribbean that were damaged by hurricanes Irma and Maria – James Ronald Webster Park in Anguilla, Dominica’s Windsor Park Stadium, Sir Viv Richards Stadium in Antigua, A.O. Shirley Recreation Ground in the British Virgin Islands and Carib Lumber Ball Park in St Maarten.
Being put in to bat first, the West Indies got off to a scorching start as Lewis dominated the 75-run partnership he amassed with Chris Gayle.
Lewis surged past his half-century and was in red-hot form, but his time at the crease came to an end when he was trapped lbw off the bowling of Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan for 58, which came off 26 balls and included five boundaries and five sixes.
Gayle, who was kept very quiet during his innings, ended up making a 28-ball 18 before he was clean bowled by Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik.
Andre Fletcher fell shortly after as he was stumped by Luke Ronchi off the bowling of World XI captain Shahid Afridi for seven runs.
Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin stabilised the innings with a 52-run partnership before Samuels was sent packing by Rashid for 43, which came off 22 balls and included two boundaries and four sixes.
Ramdin and Andre Russell ensured the West Indies finished their innings with a bang as they forged an unbeaten 47-run stand.
Ramdin finished on 44 off 25 balls, which included three boundaries and three sixes, while Russell remained undefeated on 21 off 10 deliveries, which included three sixes.
Thanks to their efforts towards the end of the innings, the West Indies made 199/4 off their 20 overs.
Rashid was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Malik and Afridi chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 200 to win, the World XI found themselves in deep trouble early on as Russell and Samuel Badree ripped through the top order, taking two wickets each, to leave the World XI reeling at 8/4.
Malik and Thisara Perera managed to add 37 runs to the score before Malik was given out lbw off the bowling of West Indies captain Carlos Brathwaite for 12.
Thisara began to up the ante and starred during the 48-run partnership he put together with Afridi.
However, shortly after Afridi fell for 11, Thisara was caught and bowled by Kesrick Williams for 61, which came off 37 deliveries and included seven boundaries and three sixes.
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Williams removed Rashid two balls later and finished things off in his next over as the World XI were bowled out for 127 when he dismissed Mitchell McClenaghan for 10.
Williams was the most successful bowler with three wickets, while Russell and Badree snapped up two wickets apiece. As for Brathwaite and Keemo Paul, they claimed one wicket each.
Afridi credited the West Indies for their superb performance, and said: “They are champions and they played like champions. Want to thank ICC for inviting me, being part of a good force. We have to help each other through sports, cricket, if people are struggling with health or education, we should support each other.
“I’m lucky to finish my career at the Home of Cricket, thanks to Andy Flower and everyone for giving me the opportunity. I’m struggling with my fitness, but because of this cause I’m here.”
Brathwaite was thrilled to have won, and also expressed his gratitude to everyone for supporting the cause.
“Massive thank you to everyone who came, and Shahid and the World XI boys for taking the time to come,” he said. “Hopefully we’ve raised some money to benefit people back home and help the infrastructure. People have been struggling, but this good feeling will spread throughout the Caribbean. Hopefully we can get the electricity back on and make people feel better.”
Lewis was named Man of the Match, and said: “It was a pretty decent wicket, bit on the slow side. We went out there and scored almost 200 and then defended. It’s always good to give back, the people of Dominica will feel relieved that we did something for them, and got a victory as well. Important that we make the most of every opportunity to play for West Indies.”