A thrilling opening Digicel One-Day International on Friday ended in a one-run victory for England over the West Indies after a miscalculation by home team coach John Dyson allowed the visitors to sneak home on the Duckworth/Lewis system in fading light.
The umpires offered the West Indies bad light at 244 for seven off 46.2 overs as they chased England’s respectable 270 for seven off 50 overs.
Under direction from Dyson in the pavilion, batsmen Darren Sammy and Nikita Miller decided to come off but the Duckworth/Lewis system par score at that stage was 245, meaning England were victors by the solitary run.
“I thought we were ahead of the Duckworth/Lewis when in fact we were behind by one,” Australian Dyson admitted. “It’s my responsibility. That’s it.”
“I accept responsibility for it. I apologized to the team. That’s all I can do. It’s a bad mistake,” he added.
The West Indies’ chase was anchored by opener Lendl Simmons and in-form Ramnaresh Sarwan, who both hit measured half centuries.
Simmons never managed to dominate but contributed an important 62 off 105 balls. The 24-year-old struck five fours and a six.
Sarwan, in front of a large Guyanese crowd, kept up his impressive run of form with a fine 57 off 77 deliveries with five boundaries.
Simmons and Sarwan added 125 for the second wicket.
When both batsmen fell trying to accelerate the scoring, England had regained control at 152 for three off 33.4 overs.
But Shivnarine Chanderpaul slammed a boisterous 46 off 30 balls and Kieron Pollard added 42 off 36 deliveries to chart a victory course.
Chanderpaul’s assault included 26 runs off one Steve Harmison over in the Batting Powerplay that tilted the balance hugely in the West Indies favour.
The decorated left-hander cracked 4,6,4,4,4,4 to send a near-capacity crowd into raptures.
The first ball disappeared past backward point while the second was scooped over short fine leg for a maximum. The next four balls sizzled through the arc between cover and straight mid-off with serious speed.
England fought back when the impressive Stuart Broad, who took three for 41 off 9.2 overs, removed Chanderpaul (six fours, one six) to a catch at square leg.
James Anderson then claimed two crucial wickets to set up the absorbing finale.
Dwayne Bravo square cut low to point and Pollard, after lashing three fours and a six, top-edged to deep square leg. Harmison pouched the catch to help heal the wounds of his earlier spell and a dropped sitter off Pollard when he was 31.
The nail-biting was on at 242 for six off 45.5 overs as the light faded and the Duckworth/Lewis system was changing with every delivery.
The crucial moment came when Broad claimed Denesh Ramdin plumb leg before with darkness setting in.
As Miller strode out to join Sammy, umpires Aleem Dar and Clyde Duncan had decided the light was poor enough to offer the batsman to go off if they chose.
But that last wicket had put the home team, for so long ahead on the D/L system, now behind by a run. Coach Dyson failed to read the sheet properly and called his batsmen off, virtually conceding defeat.
Earlier, England’s total was set up by half centuries from Paul Collingwood (69) and Owais Shah (62) with support from opener Ravi Bopara (43) and Matt Prior (26 off 21 balls).
Bopara guided the top order while Collingwood and Shah shared a mid-innings partnership of 98 off 113 balls that laid the platform for Prior’s late burst.
There were two wickets apiece for Pollard (two for 46) and Bravo (two for 65) but Sammy’s spell of 10-0-43-0 was equally impressive.