Stuart Binny is not a regular starter in his IPL side. He wasn't a part of India's World T20 squad. Such is the nature of bilateral T20 internationals that sides tend not to make too many changes to their squads. India's main T20 allrounders are in Australia so India didn't bother with them, and kept Binny in the squad. We don't know if Shikhar Dhawan was injured or unwell but it is unlikely India would have dropped him for a sixth bowler, Binny.
If they did, though, the folly was brutally exposed by Evin Lewis, who threatened to break the record for most runs in a T20I over, with a wide to boost the five sixes he hit off the first five balls of Binny's first and only over. This was the 11th over of the innings, West Indies were already 132 for 1 and this was no time or place for length-ball dobblers. Two length balls, a full toss and a short ball all disappeared, but the shot of the day was played off the slower short ball off the third legal ball of the over. This was slow, short and wide, Lewis had to go back and manufacture all his own power. He gave it an almighty whack, over cover-point, and sent it all the way over the man stationed there. Calypso hitters of yore were duly evoked.
Johnson Charles likes to hit into the leg side. R Ashwin turns the ball in. The boundaries are small. Charles is already 38 off 16 when Ashwin is asked to bowl, inside the Powerplay. It's a deck stacked against the bowler. Ashwin, though, tries the legbreak to at least make him hit against the turn. Charles watches one, takes a single, and when he comes back on strike it doesn't matter which way the ball is turning. He just winds up big and swings hard to send two consecutive legbreaks for sixes, against the turn, over long-on and midwicket.
We don't know how possessive Richard Levi is of his record for the fastest Twenty20 international hundred, in 45 balls. If he is, though, he would have had a hard time watching this match. Charles threatened to beat his record with plenty of balls to spare careening to 79 off 32 balls. Levi had some respite when Charles tried to ramp a full ball from Mohammed Shami, missed it and was bowled.
The respite was momentary, though, as Lewis, 46 off 24 at the time, got on a roll and raced away to 82 off 32. Squeaky-bum time again for the record-holder, but a tight over from Ashwin when Lewis was in his 90s saved the record, by three balls.
If these things indeed matter to Levi, he was in for more than just a squeaky bum. When KL Rahul effortlessly hoicked Andre Russell over midwicket for a six in the 17th over, he reached 94 off 43 balls, and looked capable of hitting a six off any ball he wanted to. Fortunately for Levi, though, Rahul had to deal with two absolute brutes next two balls. First Dwayne Bravo nearly broke his toe and nearly took his wicket with an unplayable yorker, and then Russell came back strongly with a surprise bouncer to leave Rahul at 94 off 45 balls.
Lewis is 90 off 40, needs 10 off the next five balls to equal Levi's record. Ashwin is the bowler. He has famously pronounced that the T20 game is so loaded against the bowlers that a slow, short and wide ball is perhaps the best ball a spinner can bowl. So he tries his hand at the "best" ball. It is only a good ball if it is within the tram lines, though. This one isn't. Lewis moves a little across to watch out for the swirling delivery that Ashwin bowls in Tests, but this one goes straight on and is a genuine limited-overs wide. The umpire, though, is put off by the batsman's movement, and lets Ashwin off. Despite a six later in the over, this ball arguably costs Lewis the fastest T20I hundred.
When 276 runs come in the first 23 overs of the game, you know chances for the bowlers are few and far between. It is imperative that every half chance is converted. One such came West Indies' way as Ajinkya Rahane ramped Andre Russell's short ball, minutes after being sconed, to the left of third man. Against any other team you would have arguably marked four the moment the ball flew off the bat, but lurking at third man here was Dwayne Bravo. He ran to his left, cut the angle, then timed his flight of a dive perfectly and pouched the catch low in his left hand. AWOL: "champiyann dance".