Eoin Morgan's unique brilliance threatened to quell the Caribbean flair, but West Indies held on for a 15-run victory over England in their Super Eights encounter at Pallekele.
With 180 needed from 20 overs, England, after losing two wickets in the first over and nowhere near the required rate for the first half of their innings, were given faint hope by Morgan and Alex Hales, with the former smashing and beguiling his way to an unbeaten 71 off just 36 balls.
However, the Irish magic fell a little short, the defending champions losing by 15 runs after ending on 164 for four.
England made the worst possible start to their innings, Ravi Rampaul picking up Craig Kieswetter and Luke Wright in the second and third balls of the opening over.
Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales, who has a penchant for playing big innings against West Indies, started the repair work, but it always looked like England were climbing a mountain that was going to be a little too steep for them. Bairstow's 29-ball 18 stay was ended by Chris Gayle, off an excellent catch by Kieron Pollard - Gayle taking time to do a little jig, like only he can.
That brought in England's best limited overs batsman Morgan - questions need to be asked about England holding back the maverick Irishman a little too late -- with just a little over ten overs remaining. Hales (68 in 51) and Morgan putting together a 107-run partnership with the left-hander producing his full repertoire of reverse sweeps, pick up shots and scoop shots.
On another day his 71 off 36 balls would have deservedly been a match-winning one, but it was not to be as West Indies picked up quite an impressive win.
Earlier, the Caribbean side did what they do best, which is use their willow to good effect and maximize the boundaries.
Chris Gayle, who received a huge cheer from the crowd, started the proceedings - effortlessly picking off the England bowlers for one six after another. At the other end, Johnson Charles was finding it difficult to get the scoreboard ticking over.
However, once the Gayle force winds took over, the youngster seemed to take confidence from his more illustrious and experienced partner.
After being 40 for no loss in the fifth over, West Indies went to 90 in nine overs, with what looked like effortless ease. While Gayle was smashing left-arm spinner Samit Patel for sixes and four at will, Charles was taking on Graeme Swann with good effect, the duo immediately nullifying the effect of the England slow bowlers.
Gayle got out to Swann, who ended up with forgettable figures of 32 for one from three overs, for a 35-ball 58, trying one too many an expansive shot. Man of the match Charles, unfettered and untroubled, went on his merry way as Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard joined Gayle in quick succession.
The Caribbean side stuttered a bit in the final overs, England captain Stuart Broad bowling some smart overs, but a final over burst from Dwayne Bravo, where he hit Jade Dernbach for three fours, took the flamboyant side to 179, a target that England found too steep to conquer.