Bridgetown: West Indies returned to winning ways in the shortest variety, defeating England by 27 runs in the first T20 International of a three-match series at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown on Sunday.
Marlon Samuels, the star when the Caribbean side defeated Sri Lanka in the final of the last World T20 in Colombo 17 months ago, led the home team's effort with an unbeaten 69 as the West Indies totalled a competitive 170 for three.
Samuels finished off a good afternoon's work in front of a celebratory full house with two wickets to seal the man of the match award.
Wrist-spinner Samuel Badree put the tourists on the back foot early on with three wickets and although all-rounders Tim Bresnan (47 not out) and Ravi Bopara (42) made useful contributions, England were always struggling to keep up with the required rate and were restricted to 143 for nine.
For the West Indies, the celebrations over a victory that sends a message to all challengers for their World T20 title in Bangladesh later in the month would have been tempered by concerns over the fitness of ace spinners Sunil Narine and Badree.
Narine only bowled two overs and left the field after jarring his right knee trying to make a save on the boundary while Badree, who claimed three for 17 off his allotted four overs, injured the fingers of his bowling hand attempting to take a return catch just before completing his spell.
Injury has also limited Chris Gayle's appearances for the West Indies over the past two months, but he returned on Sunday, contributing a typically robust 43.
However, it was his opening partner Dwayne Smith who stole the show at the very start, hoisting the first delivery of the match off Broad out of the ground and taking 19 runs off that opening over.
Smith eventually was first to go for 27, one of two wickets for Bopara who, together with the spinner James Tredwell, were England's best bowlers.
Samuels' 46-ball innings (10 fours, 1 six) was not without moments of good fortune.
Missed on 37 by a leaping Eoin Morgan at backward-point off Broad, he had even greater luck when Tredwell dropped a straightforward chance at extra-cover off Jade Dernbach at the start of the 18th over.
As if to rub salt in England wounds, the Jamaican right-hander smashed the next five deliveries for boundaries.
West Indies 170 for 3 (Samuels 69*, Gayle 43, Bopara 2-23)
England 143 for 9 (Bopara 42, Bresnan 38*, Badree 3-17, Samuels 2-21)
Result West Indies won by 27 runs
MOM Marlon Samuels (West Indies)