Fabian Allen, the Jamaican all rounder, showed his bravado by smashing three sixes in the 19th over to help clinch a three wicket triumph over Sri Lanka in the 3rd Twenty20 International (T20I) at Antigua’s Coolidge Cricket Ground on 7 March.
The Kingston-born ace, who started the three-match series at the crease with an embarrassing duck, tore into the bowling to drum up an unbeaten knock of 21 from six balls as the hosts sealed a sensational 2-1 series success.
As reigning ICC Twenty20 (T20) World Cup champions the victories over Sri Lanka will have boosted their confidence, but more importantly gives the WI a shot at qualifying for the defence of their crown.
The West Indies went into the deciding contest brimming with confidence despite their shock 43-run defeat on 5 March, having started the ball rolling with a four wicket 1st T20I win on 3 March.
For the third game on the bounce Sri Lanka opted to bat first on the spinner-friendly Coolidge pitch in the St. George parish, and yet again it proved to be a low-scoring affair as they reached a modest 131-4.
Sri Lanka’s spin attack, who in the previous match had helped whittle the Windies out for just 117, again held the hosts at the crease. The result was in the balance at 105-7 after 17 overs, with the Windies requiring 27 runs from 18 deliveries.
Jason Holder (Barbados) hit a six in the next over, but was pinned down for the other five balls by the unpredictable spin.
But it was Allen who surprised everyone by lashing out at bowler Akila Dananjaya with a trio of sixes – from the first, third and sixth deliveries – from the 19th over, deservedly claiming the honours with an over to spare and inevitably earning the Player of the Match award.
The 25-year-old outshone the usual big hitters. Captain Kieron Pollard (Trinidad) promoted himself to number four, but was thwarted with a duck after three deliveries, and veteran Chris Gayle (Jamaica) toyed with the ball but was dismissed for 13 off 20 deliveries.
Nicholas Pooran (Trinidad) made an impact with a knock of 23 from 18 balls, but it was Allen who stepped up to take the bull by the horns and fearlessly smash the ball for six with seemingly little effort.
The Windies, fresh from their remarkable Test success in Bangladesh, will be biting at the bit for the first of three One Day Internationals (ODIs) that will be played at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Thursday (11 March). This will be the first time that international cricket is played at the ground since 2013.
Following this trio of ODIs, the Windies will contest a pair of Test matches. Due to the coronavirus crisis, all matches are played on the picturesque island and behind closed doors.
The ODI series will be a different type of match as the more familiar setting in North Sound is a purpose-built venue, devised for the 2007 Cricket World Cup finals when it played host to Super 8 matches.
These three ODIs form part of the ICC Super League, with the Windies desperate to secure their first points after failing in the format in New Zealand late last year and recently in Bangladesh.
WEST INDIES v SRI LANKA (all matches in Antigua)
3 March | 1st T20I (Coolidge Cricket Ground)
WI beat Sri Lanka by 4 wickets
Sri Lanka 131-9 (20 overs), WI 134-6 (13.1 overs)
5 March | 2nd T20I (Coolidge Cricket Ground)
Sri Lanka beat WI by 43 runs
Sri Lanka 160-6 (20 overs), WI 117 all out (18.4 overs)
7 March | 3rd T20I (Coolidge Cricket Ground)
WI beat Sri Lanka by 3 wickets
Sri Lanka 131-4 (20 overs), WI 134-7 (19 overs)
10 March | 1st ODI (Sir Vivian Richards Stadium)
12 March | 2nd ODI (Sir Vivian Richards Stadium)
14 March | 3rd ODI (Sir Vivian Richards Stadium)
17-18 March | Friendly (Coolidge Cricket Ground)
21-25 March | 1st Test Match (Sir Vivian Richards Stadium)
29 March-2 April | 2nd Test Match (Sir Vivian Richards Stadium)
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