Andre Russell starred on his comeback and the West Indies’ conveyor belt of six-hitters sent England tumbling to a four-wicket defeat in Barbados in the first of five T20s.
Russell took a format-best three for 19 in his first international since the 2021 T20 World Cup to help induce an England collapse from 117 for two in the 11th over to 171 all out with three balls unused.
England disintegrated at the back end, losing their final five wickets for six runs in 15 balls, before the Windies reeled in their target with 11 balls to spare, helped by clearing the rope 14 times.
The Windies looked to be in strife after slipping to 123 for six but Russell (29 not out off 14 balls) and captain Rovman Powell (31no off 15) put on an unbroken 49 in 21 deliveries to get them home.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) December 13, 2023
Adil Rashid became the first English man to take 100 T20 wickets on his 100th appearance – he was given his cap by Andrew Flintoff – while fellow leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed collected three for 39.
But despite a switch of format following a miserable World Cup and ODI series defeat against their hosts, England suffered another setback and must regroup quickly for the second T20 in Grenada.
They were on for a 200-plus total following a 77-run opening stand in the powerplay, led by Phil Salt’s freewheeling 40 off 20 balls but never recovered the momentum after he was dismissed by Russell.
Salt edged his second ball past slip off Akeal Hosein for four after England were sent in on the pitch used in the final ODI but he settled with two more conventional strokes to the rope.
Buttler was in his Lancashire team-mate’s slipstream but brought up England’s 50 with a six off Russell after finally connecting with a ramp at the third attempt.
Joseph leaked 25 in an introductory over spanning nine balls, where he was sent the distance by Salt and saw a wide slip through the legs of wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran en route to the boundary.
It was inevitably Russell who made the breakthrough immediately after the powerplay as Salt tried to muscle over deep midwicket only to be caught by a juggling Shimron Hetmyer.
But Joseph’s nightmare start continued after back-to-back sixes off Jacks, compounding the second by overstepping and conceding 37 off his first seven legitimate balls.
Joseph’s bold decision to take pace off was rewarded as Jacks sent another booming swing straight up in the air and departed for 17 while Buttler, who had never really hit his stride at a venue where he made a golden duck on Saturday, holed out for 39 off 31 deliveries.
At 117 for three, England were in the driving seat but wickets tumbled from then on as Brook tickled behind off Jason Holder while Duckett got into a tangle attempting a scoop off a much wider delivery from Romario Shepherd than anticipated, instead reverse ramping to short third.
Liam Livingstone briefly sparkled as he thrashed Holder for successive sixes in the 17th over but then chopped on to his stumps for 27, too early on an off-cutter from Russell, who then snared Rehan Ahmed.
Joseph accounted for Rashid and Tymal Mills as England failed to bat out their overs and they were on the back foot in reply after leaking 30 in the first two overs.
Brandon King started the rout with 16 off Sam Curran but added just six more before being dismissed after an outstretched catch from Duckett, who dropped a similar chance to reprieve Kyle Mayers on 17.
Mayers had already put Will Jacks and Tymal Mills on to the Greenidge and Haynes Stand roof and cleared the ropes twice in Ahmed’s opening gambit before perishing for 35, falling metres short of a fifth six from Rashid’s first delivery.
Having amassed 78 in the first seven overs, the Windies found post-powerplay scoring as difficult as England, adding just 39 more in the next seven, which included Ahmed taking a return catch off Pooran and Hetmyer picking out Duckett in the deep to give Rashid his landmark wicket.
Shai Hope belted his third six but perished immediately afterwards for 36 when he targeted Ahmed again while the teenager had two in two when Romario Shepherd – England’s nemesis in the 2-1 ODI loss – edged to slip.
The Windies needed 43 off the last 26 balls but Powell turned the tide with two monster hits off Livingstone while Russell got a top-edge all the way in the next over off Mills.
England’s last roll of the dice was Rashid but he was smeared high over the leg-side boundary by Russell, who fittingly sealed a 1-0 lead for the Windies by hitting Curran for four.