(Jamaica Observer) With his Man-of-the-Match knock of 125 not out against India in the one-off Finolex Pipes Twenty20 International, Evin Lewis has now joined the elite club.
The 25-year-old Trinidadian,in starring the show for the West Indies in a resounding nine-wicket victory, became the third player to score two T20 international centuries, joining Chris Gayle and New Zealander Brendan McCallum.
His 125 off 62 balls, which includes six fours and 12 disdainful sixes, one of which completed the victory, led the West Indies to 194-1 with nine balls to spare in the allotment.
India had earlier posted 190-6 from their 20 overs.
It was a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon in Kingston, but it was anything but for India when Lewis unleashed his fury of majestic hitting, making their formidable bowling attack look ordinary.
After the expected Chris Gayle fireworks failed to spark with just 18 runs on return from a one-year hiatus from international action, Lewis took up the mantle of playing a swashbuckling innings that kept the fans at Sabina Park highly entertained.
Lewis and Marlon Samuels combined in the match-winning second wicket partnership of 112, which came off a mere 61 deliveries. Samuels contributed an unbeaten 36 from 29 balls, including five fours and one six.
Lewis’s 125 not out — the highest by a West Indian in T20 international — was also his second against the opposition in less than a year, following an even 100 last year in another high-scoring game in Fort Lauderdale.
“It was a good game against quality bowlers, and once you get a hundred against a team like India, it’s a good hundred,” said Lewis in a post-game interview.
“Five games in a row, in the ODIs (One-Day International), I didn’t do well. But I believed in my ability, and today (Sunday) I came out trumps,” the left-hander, who also opens the batting in the ODI squad added in reference to their 1-3 loss in the five-match series.
The aggressive batsman survived two dropped chances on his way to achieving the milestone, which is the third highest in a T20 International behind Australians Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell with 156 and 145 not out against England and Sri Lanka, respectively.
It was also the highest score in a T20 international chase, surpassing Hong Kong’s Babar Hayat, who had 122 against Oman in the Asia Cup last year. This was also the highest score by any batsmen against India in T20Is, going past Shane Watson’s 124 in Sydney last year.
The feat also included the third–highest number of sixes in a T20 international. Finch has the most with 14 struck in his 156, and the second best in a chase.
Lewis also surpassed his own record number of sixes against India, bettering the nine he registered in Florida.
He now evenly shares the top six T20 international scores by West Indies batsmen with Gayle. His record stands at 125 not out, 100 and 91, while Gayle has scores of 117, 100 not out and 98.
The easy-going player admitted that sharing the crease with Gayle assisted him in finding his range.
“It was easier at the top of the innings, because Chris going after the bowling makes it easier for me to score, and I got a good score. So I’m thankful for the score and to bat with him (Chris), and I hope I can keep backing my ability and keep doing my best for the West Indies,” Lewis noted.
Meanwhile, West Indies Captain Carlos Brathwaite also lauded the level of maturity shown by Lewis in the magnificent innings to steer the regional side home.
“I am very happy; we asked for the batters to go out and express themselves, and I gave them the captain’s incentive… whoever goes and gets a 50 and controls the game, gets half my match fee. Marlon did it against Afghanistan and Evin did it here today.
“We wanted to put smiles on the faces of the fans, and that’s what we did. Chris didn’t get off as well, but Evin took the mantle over from him and he carried right on. He got a 100 in Florida last year and this year he got a 100, and you can see that he wanted to take it right home, so big kudos to him,” Brathwaite stated after collecting the trophy.
“A lot of maturity shown by him over the course of the last 12 months, because the mental capacity was that we could chase down whatever they put on, and the expression showed by Evin proved just that supported by Chris and Marlon to bring us home,” he added.