West Indies edged out defending champions England by 15 runs in an exciting finish to the World Twenty20 Super Eight group one match at Pallekele stadium on Thursday.
Chasing a daunting 180-run target, England came close with Eoin Morgan (71 not out) and Alex Hales (68) putting on a resolute 107-run partnership for the third wicket but in the end they fell short.
England had lost Craig Kieswetter and Luke Wright for first over ducks but Hales, who hit five boundaries and two sixes off his 51 balls, and Morgan's 36-ball knock, with five sixes and four boundaries, defied West Indies's four-pronged spin attack.
England needed 125 runs in their last 10 overs but Morgan and Hales paced the innings well before Marlon Samuels bowled an excellent last over, conceding only eight runs.
West Indian captain Darren Sammy said spinners made the win possible.
"We backed ourselves to set a target and the openers got us going well," said Sammy.
"With (Sunil) Narine, Samuel, Chris (Gayle), we decided to maximise our spinners against England and it worked out."
England skipper Stuart Broad was left disappointed.
"We had to regroup, obviously losing two wickets in that first over hurt us but we showed how good the wicket was. We were quite happy with our effort with the ball and I think we're disappointed not to win tonight," said Broad.
West Indies were set on their way for a big total by openers Johnson Charles and Gayle.
Charles smashed three sixes and 10 well-timed boundaries in his 56-ball 84 while Gayle hit four sixes and six fours in his 35-ball 58.
West Indies had raced to 103 by the 11th over when Gayle was finally out, caught by Steven Finn as the left-hander tried to hit Graeme Swann out of the ground.
Three of his sixes came in one over from left-arm spinner Samit Patel.
But Gayle's dismissal allowed England to pull back as they dismissed Marlon Samuels (two) and Kieron Pollard (one) in quick succession, with Broad claiming one wicket besides bowling a maiden over.
Charles finally holed out at mid-on, missing a low Jade Dernbach full toss and was caught by Jonathon Bairstow.
Broad was the pick of the England bowlers with 2-26.
Earlier Sri Lanka beat New Zealand in a sensational Super over finish after both teams were tied in the 40-over contest.