At the end of the 18th over, West Indies were 112 for 7 without a specialist batsman left and 20 runs short of Sri Lanka’s total in the third and final CG Insurance T20 International at the Coolidge Ground in Antigua.
Jason Holder had 13 runs off 22 balls while Fabian Allen, who had faced a solitary ball at that stage, was yet to score.
Six balls later, Allen had 21 runs, Holder had 14 and West Indies had won by three wickets with an over to spare.
“When I look in the dressing room, we have a lot of batting power,” said Allen, after the match. “I told Jason Holder that I’m not comfortable batting against [Wanindu] Hasaranga, so I told him to bat him out and I’ll be finishing. I just backed myself in the end.”
Allen had just one ball from Hasaranga to cope with, a dot ball. But he more than compensated for it against Akila Dananjaya with three sixes in the 19th over, as the hosts again blasted themselves out of trouble to seal a 2-1 series triumph.
It must seem like a lifetime ago that Dananjaya took a prized hattrick of Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran, in the first T20 last Wednesday. Windies captain Kieron Pollard then swaggered to the crease and belted him for six sixes as the hosts roared to victory.
Allen ensured tonight that there would be no consolation for the Sri Lankan spinner, who finished the Third T20 with figures of 0 for 53 runs from four overs.
It was part of a man of the match display by Allen, who also took one wicket while conceding a miserly 13 runs from his four overs. And it was a memorable scalp too, as he snapped up a fine catch off of his own bowling to remove opener Danushka Gunathilaka for nine.
“I prepare for everything, including bowling in the Powerplay,” said Allen. “I just backed myself and executed. The pitch is very slow, so I just needed to execute my plans.”
Sri Lanka had a poor start but still managed to put some runs on the board as Dinesh Chandimal (54) and Ashen Bandara (44) put on an unbeaten fifth wicket partnership of 85 runs.
Openers Lendl Simmons (26) and Lewis (21) got the hosts off to a fair start, while Gayle (13) and Pooran (23) contributed too. But it was fairly slow going and meagre returns from Pollard (0), Rovman Powell (7) and Dwayne Bravo (0) did not help the cause.
Six hitting is a great strength of the West Indies team, though, and coach Phil Simmons is not short of firepower. Pollard did not ignite tonight.
Thankfully, Allen kept his powder dry.
Result: West Indies won by three wickets (with six balls remaining) to win the T20 series 2-1
West Indies: 134 for 7 (Lendl Simmons 26, Nicholas Pooran 23, Lakshan Sankadan 3-29);
Sri Lanka: 131 for 4 (Dinesh Chandimal 54*, Ashen Bandara 44*, Fabian Allen 1-13).