Captain Powell the hero as West Indies win thriller against South Africa
New skipper Rovman Powell powered West Indies to a stunning three-wicket win against South Africa in a rain-reduced T20I clash on Saturday.
The start in Centurion was pushed back because of wet conditions and the contest was reduced to an 11-overs-a-side thrash, with South Africa totting up 131-8, helping by David Miller crunching 48 from 22 balls.
Miller struck three sixes as the home side recovered well from losing opener Quinton de Kock to the first ball of their innings at SuperSport Park.
West Indies made a flying start to their reply as Brandon King and Kyle Mayers took 17 runs from the first four deliveries. King's 23, and 28 from Johnson Charles, helped to put the tourists in a strong position, but it was Powell who played the crucial innings.
The 29-year-old Jamaican hit five sixes in an explosive 43no from 18 balls, holding his nerve after West Indies lost two wickets to Sisanda Magala (3-21) in the 10th over.
Powell's maximum from the second delivery of the 11th over brought the teams level, and he tucked away a single into the leg side from the next ball to seal the win, taking West Indies to 132-7.
Powell starts as he means to go on
The chance to lead arose for Powell when Nicholas Pooran resigned as West Indies' white-ball captain after last year's T20 World Cup.
Powell has taken on the T20I job, with Shai Hope leading the ODI team, and this was a whirlwind beginning for the incoming captain, firstly with the match being reduced to a quickfire slog, and then with the pressure falling on his shoulders with the bat.
He came in at 66-3 in the fifth over, after the breakneck start, and saw the job through, posting his joint-sixth highest T20I score in what was his 47th innings at this level.
Trend to continue?
The last three T20I series between these teams have been won by the touring side, and with two games remaining in this series we might be on for a repeat.
South Africa are experiencing a dire run of series results in T20Is at home, having lost their last four such series, last getting a home success against Sri Lanka in March 2019.
Over the longer course of a full 20 overs it might prove a different story between these teams, with the win for West Indies on this occasion being just the second in their last 16 T20Is away from home. They and South Africa go again on Sunday, also in Centurion.