3rd T20 International - Sri Lanka Vs West Indies - Antigua
All-rounder Fabian Allen clobbered three sixes in the penultimate over to lead West Indies to a dramatic three-wicket win against Sri Lanka in the third and final Twenty20 international in Antigua on Monday.
Chasing a modest target of 132, the two-time world champions struggled in the run chase, as their star trio of Chris Gayle, skipper Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo all flopped.
Needing 27 off 18 balls, Sri Lanka sniffed a scent of victory with Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga bowling with their tails up.
But a rare no-ball for overstepping by leg spinner Hasaranga in his final over saw Jason Holder smashing a towering six over long on to uplift the West Indies’ spirits.
Requiring 20 of 12 balls, Allen then smashed Akila Danajaya for 21 runs off just six balls faced at Coolidge Cricket Ground, with two of his sixes soaring into the night sky.
Dananjaya who gave away 53 runs in his four overs, was once again the victim of some explosive West Indies batting, after Pollard hit six sixes off one of his overs in the first game on Thursday.
Dananajaya seemed rattled after Allen sent a shortish delivery sailing over deep square leg for his first six and then the 25-year-old Jamaican bludgeoned Dananjaya’s third delivery over midwicket for a huge six before clubbing the final delivery over long on for the winning hit.
West Indies finished on 134-7, clinching the three-game series 2-1 after a four-wicket win in the first match, followed by Sri Lanka's 43-run victory in the second.
"I prepare for everything, including bowling in the powerplay," said player of the match Allen.
"I told (batting partner) Jason Holder that I'm not comfortable batting against (Wanindu) Hasaranga, so I told him to bat him out and I'll do the finishing. I just backed myself in the end. It was a good performance overall."
West Indies who won their last T20I series against Sri Lanka around this time last year, were cruising after restricting the tourists to 131 for 4.
Openers Evin Lewis (21) and Lendl Simmons (26) gave them a solid start before Hasaranga who had a return of 2 for 13, dismissed them both for a series haul of eight wickets.
Seamer Chameera took the prized wicket of Pollard, who became only the third man to hit six sixes in an international over on Thursday. The West Indies captain departed for a third-ball duck fishing a classic Test match delivery from Chameera outside the off with wicket keeper Niroshan Dickwella tumbling to take a low catch.
Wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan clean bowled Gayle for 13, beating him in flight, as the 41-year-old who made nought and 16 in the first two games completed a poor international return after a two-year hiatus.
Gayle has now gone five years without a fifty in T20 internationals.
Bravo too went for a duck, as Sandakan took two wickets in consecutive deliveries in the 17th over, sending back Rovman Powell after having been hit for a six the previous ball to finish with 3 for 29.
But Allen survived Sandakan’s hat-trick ball and powered West Indies to a memorable win coming in at No. 9, just as he had impacted the game with the ball earlier, after claiming 1 for 13 from his four overs.
Earlier, an unbeaten stand of 85 - Sri Lanka's highest in T20Is for the fifth wicket - between former skipper Dinesh Chandimal, who hit his fifth Twenty20 International half-century and Ashen Bandara took Sri Lanka to a modest 131-4.
Chandimal grinded an undefeated 54 with just three boundaries to finish four runs short of his personal best of 58 in the format made against Australia at Pallekele in 2016.
The 31-year-old, playing in his 57th T20 International, had made just 11 and three in the first two games.
22-year-old Bandara, on his debut tour, hit an unbeaten 44 with three fours and his team's only two sixes to boost Sri Lanka’s total.
On a surface that was slower than the first two games, Sri Lanka made just 47 for the loss of four wickets in 10 overs after having won the toss and deciding to bat first.
This was in stark contrast to their victorious game on Saturday, when they had amassed 94 without loss at the halfway stage.
On Monday, they managed just two boundaries in the first 10 overs with opener Danushka Gunathilaka, who top-scored on Saturday with 56, out this time for just nine, caught and bowled by Allen, who took a brilliant reflex catch to his right as the batsman miscued an attempted shot down the ground.
Sri Lanka have not won a T20I series since October 2019. The ast time they won a T20 International series was against Pakistan.
The two sides will now play three ODIs beginning on Wednesday and two Tests, all in Antigua.