West Indies whitewash South Africa 3-0 in T20I series

Their bowlers set it up, a nd their batting, led by a Player-of-the-Match innings from Johnson Charles, formalised an eight-wicket win yesterday in Jamaica as hosts West Indies swept South Africa in a Twenty20 International series for the first time.

The 35-year-old St. Lucian opener cracked nine fours and five sixes in the top score of 69 from 26 balls, and the Caribbean side gained a boost of confidence before the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup starts next week when they comfortably chased down 164 to clinch the series, exclusively played at Sabina Park, 3-0.

Charles, a member of the final 15-member West Indies squad for the World Cup announced earlier in the day, shared 92 for the first wicket with World Cup-bound teammate and captain for this series, Brandon King, which set the foundation for the successful run chase.

“It was great the start we got,” Charles said in a post-play TV interview. “We have been working hard during the camp we had before the series, and we have worked hard on our skills and the way we want to play in the World Cup, so it’s just a matter of implementing what we have been practicing.”

King, leading the side in the absence of World Cup captain Rovman Powell, made 44, and ambidextrous all-rounder Kyle Mayers, one of the five reserves for the World Cup co-hosts also announced earlier in the day, was not out on 36.

Mayers swung a delivery by Reeza Hendricks, bowling his uncomplicated off-spin, over mid-wicket, and the Caribbean side completed their chase with 55 balls remaining for their biggest win against the South Africans based on that margin of victory.

Though both sides were missing at least half of the World Cup squads, King said it was an important series win for the West Indies, trying to win an unprecedented third world T20 title, and on home soil to boot.

“I am just happy for the victory,” King said. “We believe in each other as a unit and understand each other very well. We have been playing with the same group of guys for the last year or two, so we really understand each other’s game, and we have a lot of confidence in each other.

“This is an important series win for us. It’s the last set of matches before the World Cup, so it’s been really good preparation for us, and it’s really good momentum to carry into the World Cup. All of the guys are feeling confident about their game, so that’s good.”

He added, “Our bowling performances were very pleasing because we had consistency throughout the three matches; Gudakesh Motie had a spectacular series, every game he was dependable for us.

“But we also had different contributions with the bat, and everybody had a stand-out performance, and I am really happy for the team.”

Left-arm spinner Motie ended the series with eight wickets at 8.50 apiece and was named the Player-of-the-Series.

But it was left-arm pacer Obed McCoy, a late inclusion in the World Cup squad because injury will sideline long-standing all-rounder Jason Holder, that led the way in the bowling after South Africa won the toss and decided to bat.

McCoy ended with three for 39 from his allotted four overs, Motie finished with two for 21 from three overs, and fellow Guyanese pacer Shamar Joseph took two for 26 from four overs to help dismantle the Proteas batting.

The West Indies restricted the South Africans to 45 for two at the close of the Power Play and had them wobbling on 63 for four at the drinks break half-way through the innings.

The Caribbean side met resistance when the visitors’ captain Rassie van der Dussen, whose 51 off 31 balls was the top score, and Wiaan Mulder added 77 for the fifth wicket between the ninth and 17th overs.

McCoy got Mulder caught inside the long-on boundary to break the partnership, and the South Africans could add only 36 from the remaining 22 balls. (CMC)