New England skipper Paul Collingwood's heroics proved in vain as West Indies triumphed by 15 runs in the opening NatWest Twenty20 clash at the Brit Oval.
Collingwood smote 79 from 41 balls with four sixes and five fours in a thrilling seventh wicket partnership of 91 with Michael Yardy after England had slumped to 101 for six.
But the Windies total of 208 for eight eventually just proved beyond them, with Collingwood run out off the penultimate ball of the game.
Powerful half-centuries from Devon Smith and Marlon Samuels made the difference for the tourists after captain Chris Gayle had chosen to bat.
England never threatened to challenge that total once Kevin Pietersen was run out for 16.
Devon Smith went to his half-century off 30 balls and in total hit three sixes and seven fours in his 61.
He added 82 in nine overs for the second wicket with Shivnarine Chanderpaul (41), then Samuels ensured the momentum was sustained.
Samuels required only 25 deliveries to bring up his 50 with three fours and four sixes.
Debutant Dimitri Mascarenhas (two wickets for 39 runs) and Jimmy Anderson (two for 37) were the most successful England bowlers.
England made a positive start to their reply with Alastair Cook and Matthew Prior putting on 40 in five overs.
But they both fell in the first over from Dwayne Smith with Cook (15) perishing at deep backward point and Prior (25) caught at long-on.
Darren Sammy was also successful in his opening over when he bowled Jonathan Trott for nine.
And England's hopes were effectively over when Pietersen was run out by Dwayne Smith's throw from the boundary attempting a third run - despite a despairing dive to try and make his ground.
Dwayne Smith completed a successful spell by trapping Owais Shah leg before wicket for seven, to finish with figures of three wickets for 24 runs.
But Collingwood and Prior at least restored some pride for the home side.