Brilliant Brathwaite, Super Samuels win World T20 for Windies
Kolkata : West Indies tonight created history by becoming the first nation to win the ICC World T20 twice with a dramatic four wicket victory over England riding on Carlos Brathwaite four consecutive lusty sixes in the final over of the innings.
Chasing a tricky target of 156, it was Marlon Samuels, who did an encore of the 2012 final that Darren Sammy’s men had won, hitting a magnificent 85 not out off 66 balls with nine boundaries and two huge sixes.
However it was the unheralded giant Brathwaite, who showed why he commanded such a record IPL price from Delhi Daredvils scoring 34 off only 10 balls as he hit the four most important maximums of his short cricketing career.
With 19 runs needed off the final over, Brathwaite hit the first ball behind square for a six and the next was hit over long-on for a six and the third over long-off to basically bring down the equation 1 off 3 balls before finishing off with another hit over deep mid-wicket.
The entire stadium save a few English fans erupted in joy as the West Indies team members rushed to the field to congratulate the heroes.
It was one of the most beautiful sights as the women’s team also joined their men as the danced to the now popular Bravo rap of ‘Champion’ in unison. They took a ‘lap of Honour from an Eden Gardens that gave them a standing ovation.
The West Indies despite all their problems are now World Champions in U-19, women’s and men’s World T20.
For England’s bowling unit, the hero certainly would left-arm seamer David Willey, who had phenomenal figures of 3/20 in 4 overs with an astounding 13 dot balls as he increased pressure on the Caribbean batsmen before Stokes frittered it away.
Eoin Morgan took a calculative risk introducing part-time off-spinner Root in the second over and it turned out to be a masterstroke. Root snuffed out Chris Gayle (4) and Johnson Charles (0), both trying to hit a six and caught by Ben Stokes in the deep.
It was Morgan’s ability to play on Gayle’s mind that proved to be key. Gayle may thought about Moeen Ali and it was Root, who did flight the ball.
From 5/2 it became 11/3 as last game’s ‘Man of The Match’ Lendl Simmons (0) was caught plumb in-front as Willey got one to shape back.
In the final over of the Powerplay, Marlon Samuels (27) spanked three boundaries off Chris Jordan to take the score to 37. He had a close shave when he edged one off Liam Plunkett to Jos Buttler which Rod Tucker had given out. But replays showed that the England wicketkeeper did not take the catch cleanly and the batsman got a reprieve.
However England bowlers maintained tight lines West Indies reached 54 for 3 in 10 overs needing 102 from remaining 10 overs. But Samuels and of course Brathwaite had other ideas.
This was also the first time that a target in excess of 150 was chased in a World T20 final.
The pitch had good pace and bounce but it also had some purchase for the spinners as leg-spinner Adil Rashid (1/23 in 4 overs), who was fantastic as he did not give a single boundary in the first three overs.
While he had a good time with the ball, Dwayne Bravo (25, 27 balls) struggled big time as he could not find the boundary save the six off Rashid before being out playing a horrible shot. The partnership for the 4th wicket was of 75 runs but West Indies were still in trouble at 86/4.
The turning point was the 15th over bowled by the normally disciplined Liam Plunkett which yielded 18 runs as Samuels finally gave the charge hitting him for two sixes of full length deliveries apart from a boundary as West Indies for the first time raised visions of victory.
However he lost the dangerous Andre Russell (1) in the next over when Stokes took his third catch and Willey got his second wicket. It became 107 for six as Darren Sammy’s (2) horrible tournament came to an end with an atrocious shot.
But Brathwaite let Samuels set the stage for him before he finished the final leg of the chase with utter disdain leaving the Englishmen horrified.
For an England team, even after close to three decades, there was no change in their fortune in a global final. Just like Mike Gatting’s reverse sweep, Stokes’s over will also come to haunt them big time.
Earlier, West Indies bowlers effected a middle-order collapse to restrict England to a decent 155 for 9 despite Joe Root’s attractive half-century after Sammy won the toss.
It was leg-spinner Samuel Badree (2/16 in 4 overs), who inflicted the initial damage in a splendid opening act while Dwayne Bravo (3/37 in 4 overs) and Carlos Brathwaite (3/23 in 4 overs) displayed their variations while triggering a collapse during the back-10. The last five overs produced a meagre 40 runs.
Just when Root (54 in 36 balls) along with Jos Buttler (36), looked set for an imposing total, Bravo and Brathwaite wreaked havoc.
England were cruising 84 for 3 in 11.1 overs with Root and Buttler having added 61 runs already but were soon reduced to 111 for 7, losing four wickets for 27 runs within next three overs.
Before the collapse occured, the boundaries were flowing at that time when Brathwaite dismissed Buttler. The batsman tried to pull the bowler over deep mid-wicket only to be holed out by Bravo.
Ben Stokes (13) and Root, who had hit seven crisp boundaries had added 26 runs together when Bravo bowled a sharp boouncer to get rid of the former.
Moeen Ali (0), who has perennial problem with short ball tried to tuck one fired in his rib cage to Denesh Ramdin. Root, who was getting edgy then played an uncharacteristic lap shot to be caught at short fine-leg as England never recovered from the blows.
England though benifitted from David Willey’s cameo of 14-ball 21 (1×4, 2×6) which helped tjem get past 150-run mark.
Already charged up after their women’s team’s win, the West Indies set the ball rolling as Badree bowled a perfect top spinner that breached Jason Roy (0)’s defences.
There was more in store for the rampaging Windies when Russell’s sloppy bowling waiting to be dispatched by Alex Hales (1) found Badree at short fine leg.
West Indies had their gameplan straight against the spin -wary Englishmen by sticking to Badree up front and the legspinner bowled a rare wicket maiden in his third over by dismissing Eoin Morgan.
Continuing his lean patch with the bat, the English skipper was deceived by a googly and England were staring at doom at 23/3 after 4.4 overs.
Thankfully for England, Root remained a bystander and looked at ease with three fours in the previous over by Benn.
Desperately needing a partnership, England found Butler to repair the damage with Root.
On a track that looked batting friendly with little in it for the spinners, the duo cleverly rotated the strikes with the odd four or six in between to step up their run-rate.
Buttler was not there to be bogged down by the Windies and exploded against Benn in the 11th over with two clean hits soaring into the crowd. But just as England looked to roll on there was another breakthrough for the Windies in the form of the big-hitting Buttler who smacked at midwicket only to be caught by Bravo.