England's T20 International series against hosts West Indies got off to a disappointing start with the Eoin Morgan-led side suffering a nine-wicket defeat in a D/N match at the Kensington Oval on Sunday (IST).
West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder came up with career-best T20 bowling figures of four wickets for seven runs in 3.4 overs as the hosts restricted England to just 103 in 19.4 overs. Then, an unbeaten half-century from Brandon King saw West Indies score an easy win in the opening game of the five-match series.
The hosts started the rot with the wicket of Jason Roy in the first over of play, and didn't look back in a dominating performance from their bowlers.
Kieron Pollard's men were unrelenting with the ball and in the field, restricting the tourists to 26/4 in the Powerplay. Holder claimed Tom Banton and Moeen Ali in successive deliveries, as Sheldon Cottrell (2/30 off four overs) made his mark at the other end.
Cottrell removed Roy, and the left-armer picked up James Vince (14 from 12 balls), who threatened to launch English resurgence.
The fourth wicket brought Sam Billings to the middle, just a week after his Test debut in Hobart against Australia. The wicketkeeper-batter was unable to hang around with captain Morgan, missing an Akeal Hosein delivery on the charge and stumped for just two.
On top of the West Indies' execution of plans, England's batting capitulation was as much down to mistakes at crucial moments, with a poor call running between wickets the reason for Liam Dawson's downfall.
Misjudging a quick single, Dawson fell to his knees in an attempt to skip back into his ground, with Pollard finishing a simple throw to Nicholas Pooran for the run out.
Morgan picked out Pollard at cover an over later, and at 49/7, England were staring down the barrel of their lowest ever total of 80.
England finally found a partnership through Chris Jordan (28) and Adil Rashid's (22) lower-order exploits, and the pair managed to move the score towards three figures.
Jordan fell to the spin of Fabian Allen in the late stages looking to up the run-rate further towards six an over, and Rashid managed to stick around until the final over, ticking over the century total.
Holder quelled any lusty late blows, removing Saqib Mahmood (5) and Rashid in successive deliveries to finish with his scarcely believable figures.
Any doubts of a nervy West Indies chase were put to bed, as the opening pair of Brandon King and Shai Hope moved through the Powerplay unscathed, and registered a half-century partnership.
Hope fell to a clever piece of Rashid bowling soon after, but it proved a consolation wicket as the hosts ran off easy winners. King was joined by Pooran, as the pair eased home with 17 balls to spare.
Brief scores: England 103 in 19.4 overs (Chris Jordan 28; Jason Holder 4/7, Sheldon Cottrell 2/30) lost to West Indies 104/1 in 17.1 overs (Brandon King 52 not out) by 9 wickets.