Powell leads Windies to victory in 11-over slug match
West Indies Captain Rovman Powell hits a six during the first T20 international match against South Africa at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Saturday. (Photo: AFP)

PRETORIA, South Africa (CMC) — New West Indies Twenty20 International Captain Rovman Powell started his reign with a bang on Saturday when he dragged his side to a three-wicket win against South Africa and gave them a 1-0 lead in their three-match series.

Powell slugged one four and five sixes in the top score of 43 not out from 18 balls, holding his nerve in the closing overs, to lead a successful chase of 132 in a contest reduced to 11 overs-a-side because of adverse weather at Centurion Park.

The 29-year-old Jamaican entered the fray with West Indies halfway to their target in the fifth over on 66 for three and proceeded to dominate the remainder of the match with his explosive batting that earned him the Player-of-the Match award.

Opener Brandon King gave the chase a flying start with two fours and two sixes in 23 off only eight balls, and enabled West Indies to reach 46 for two after the three-over Power Play.

After King was bowled behind his back, moving too far inside the line to swing a full toss from burly pacer Sisanda Magala in the third over, two-time T20I World Cup-winning batsman Johnson Charles kept West Indies on track.

When Charles was caught on the long-on boundary off unorthodox left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi in the sixth over for 28 off 14 balls that included one six and three fours, the visitors needed 56 from 32 balls.

Powell took charge of the chase, taking his only four and three sixes off left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin in the eighth over, reducing the equation to 20 from the last 18 balls — but three wickets — two to Magala off successive balls in the penultimate over — added to the drama.

Powell kept his composure and formalised the result with three balls remaining when he swung left-arm pacer Wayne Parnell over square leg for six off the second ball of the final over and tickled the next delivery into leg-side for a single.

Magala was the most successful South African bowler with three for 21 from his allotted two overs.

The second T20I of the series takes place on Sunday at the same venue, and Powell said his side needed to execute if they are to condemn their opponents to a fourth successive T20I home series loss.

Earlier, West Indies failed to maintain their intensity, and left-handed T20 specialist David Miller cracked 48 off 22 balls to propel South Africa to 131 for eight after they were put in to bat.

After rain delayed the start by two hours, left-arm spinner Hosein gave West Indies a dream start when he got Quinton de Kock caught at deep fine leg off the first ball of the match from a top-edged sweep.

Left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell got Rilee Roussouw caught at mid-off for 10 from a sliced pull in the second over, but the South Africans ended the three-over Power Play strongly on 30 for two when Hosein conceded 16 from his second over that included two leg-side sixes to Reeza Hendricks.

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