'I know once I bat five overs, I will get that score' - Lewis
Evin Lewis has played eight T20Is for West Indies, a short-format team traditionally known for its power-hitters. He has crossed ten only two times in those eight matches; the first time he went on to a hundred with nine sixes; the second time, he struck 91 off 51 with nine sixes. Only Marlon Samuels has hit as many sixes in a T20I innings for West Indies, and only Chris Gayle has done better.
That 91 helped West Indies mow down a target of 138 in Port of Spain against Pakistan on Saturday, with seven wickets and over five overs to spare. Lewis, who was run out for 10 and 3 in the first two games which West Indies lost, said he did a bit of introspection after his twin failures but did not put too much pressure on himself; he was confident he could make a difference if he batted a decent length of time.
"I've been staying positive. The first two games, you know, run out, I had a long think last night," Lewis said after the match. "I didn't put pressure on myself. That's how the game goes at times. I know once I bat at least five overs, I will get that score."
Lewis' blitz helped West Indies stay alive in the four-match series; the final game will be played on Sunday, with the scoreline 2-1 in favour of Pakistan.
The visitors' coach Mickey Arthur was disappointed his team did not seal the series at the first opportunity, and put that down to inadequate batting; after being 4 for 2 four balls into the match, they recovered to 92 for 2 in the 13th over courtesy 88 off 69 between Kamran Akmal and Babar Azam before a dramatic slide.
"We need to find some balance with our batting," Arthur said. "For us it was an opportunity to close out a series and we didn't do that. We've put ourselves under pressure, we can't lose the series, but still we've put ourselves under pressure for tomorrow.
"It was a really good partnership between Babar and Kamran. They played really well on this wicket. We set ourselves up for 160-165 at one stage and then we lost six wickets for 45, and that's a massive mountain to climb. In the last four overs we only got 19 , those are stats we can't afford in games like these. So we'll continue working on that."
The best way forward, Arthur said, would be to rotate strike more and frustrate the opposition through quick single and twos to make up for a lack of power hitting in the line-up. "We don't have those massive boundary-hitters, so we've got to find another way to score runs. To do that we've got to be running hard between wickets and we've got to be putting the opposition under pressure that way."
West Indies' chase was aided by the fact that Pakistan's main threat with the ball from the previous two games, 18-year-old legspinner Shadab Khan, was taken for 38 runs off 3.5 overs, an economy rate of 9.91. Lewis played a big role in that, taking 25 runs off 14 balls from Shadab, including three sixes.
Lewis said he did not plan anything specific to counter Shadab. "There was no big plan against him. I held back myself… I don't really play bowlers, on my day I can hit any bowler. So I held back myself, and I went on to runs today. Just put him under a bit of pressure when he bowled a bad ball."
Arthur was not overly concerned by Shadab's expensive display, saying it was natural for teams to deal with him more effectively as he became better known. It was up to his team, he said, to help the young bowler stay ahead.
"Teams are going to take him on, teams are going to analyse him now, we've got to try and stay one step ahead with him. But he's a great kid, he's a great bowler, and he has got such a big future. For us it's about giving him the right guidance now, and keeping him nice and grounded."