Chris Gayle was a delighted spectator as Darren Bravo and Kieron Pollard’s late cameo propelled the West Indies to a seven wicket win at Sabina Park and reduce the arrears in the one-day series to 3-2.
Bravo struck 86 from 99 balls but as he fell four overs from the end, Pollard produced a typically brutal knock of 24 from 13 deliveries to guide them over the line.
Earlier Ramnaresh Sarwan hit 75 to keep them in the contest and watched by outcast Gayle, sporting an eye-catching afro and lumimous green outfit, his team-mates did the renegade star proud.
At one stage requiring 80 runs from 48 balls, Bravo’s introduction swung the match back in the West Indies favour as they were able to throw caution to the wind with wickets in hand.
It was Bravo who took the caution smashing three fours and six sixes to make the most of some very generous Indian bowling towards the end of the match.
As his century and victory beckoned, the batsman strayed too far out of his crease and Parthiv Patel whipped away the bails. Replays showing Bravo’s toes millimetres over the lone.
Earlier India, who had already tied the five match series up, failed to build on Virat Kohli’s 94 and 57 from Rohit Sharma, and were dismissed for 251 in 47.3 overs.
Kohli struck 10 boundaries from 104 balls, and Sharma hit two fours and one six from 72 deliveries in a 110-run stand for the second wicket, propping up the Indians after they were sent in to bat on a hard, bouncy Sabina Park pitch, and stumbled to 79 for three in the 17th over.
When Kohli was run out in the 36th over, failing to beat Ramnaresh Sarwan’s throw to wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh Jr going for a second run, the visitors batting collapsed under mean, purposeful West Indies bowling.
The world champions lost their last seven wickets for 62 in the space of 70 deliveries, as Andre Russell, playing an international match for West Indies on home soil for the first time, captured four for 35 from 8.3 overs.
Yusuf Pathan threatened to turn the tide for India, but Russell had him caught behind for 30 in the 46th over at the height of the carnage.
Pollard took two for 39 from eight overs, and Kemar Roach two for 52 from his allotment of 10 overs to support Russell in the demolition of the Indian batting.
The West Indies response was slow and methodical, as they had to react to the early loss of in-form Lendl Simmons.
The opener removed for just six as he top edged Vinay Kumar to Amit Mishra at third man.
Some economical bowling saw the run rate slowly creep up as Adrian Barath and Sarwan kept their wickets without accelerating the scoring sufficiently.
Barath though always looked the most likely to go and in the 15th over, after bringing up their 50, he was undone by Mishra’s wrong-un and was out lbw.
Sarwan and Bravo though came together to launch the recovery.
The veteran Sarwan brought up his third half-century of the series from 65 balls in the 28th over.
The partnership was good for 103 runs when Sarwan caught a short ball in the ribs and was forced to retire hurt.
Bravo then took it upon himself to take the game to India, launching lusty blows and anything short of a length, with minimal footwork but maximum execution.
At 203-2 Bravo tried to smash Vinay Kumar’s full toss through the covers and was first dropped by Sharma’s diving attempt, with the Indian batsman inches away.
Bravo’s reluctance to run then nearly cost him as Samuels was backing up and was well ahead of his team-mate when he called for a second run.
Bravo dallied sent him back but was slow to retreat to his crease and had the throw been at the bowlers end he would have been out.