KOLKATA: When the West Indies arrived at Eden Gardens on Sunday, they stood in a corner, watching their women’s team script their way to glory. The women went on a celebratory run and before the support staff could join them, Darren Sammy and Curtly Ambrose were already in the middle. Dwayne Bravo too was seen hugging them and dancing.
A little later when they were practising, Bravo stopped in his run-up, just to gesture to fans to applaud the women’s WT20 champions and Eden Gardens responded. Bravo paid them back by shaking legs to his own composition – Champion. England players stood quietly, as if none wanted them there, although they were the favourites.
The women had done their job and it was over to the men to make it a hat-trick of titles for West Indies in ICC events this year. Not for a moment they appeared overwhelmed by the grand stage. Riding on an all-round bowling show with inspiring innings from Marlon Samuels and then Carlos Brathwaite, they made sure it was their evening by defeating England in a last-over thriller.
The last thing England wanted was the West Indies getting the support of a packed stadium. From the time Jason Roy lost his leg stump to Samuel Badree in the first over, they played like ‘old’ England. Not even Joe Root could inspire confidence in the rest. Root doesn’t believe in extravagant shots and trusts his game built on solid technique to get runs.
Unlike most other stadiums in India, Eden Gardens is built for grand occasions. When the majestic venue lends its voice behind a team, it can get intimidating for the other. When Bravo went on a run after dismissing Ben Stokes, the noise was deafening.
Though Bravo and Brathwaite kept chipping in with breakthroughs, England’s lower-order took them to 155 on a surface now taking some turn. It looked about 20 short and it seemed it might become a routine affair for the West Indies. But like Bravo had warned in team meetings, the only team that could defeat them was themselves. And they made sure they made life difficult for them.
When Johnson Charles, Chris Gayle and Lendl Simmons departed inside three overs, England sniffed victory. Samuels and Bravo consolidated with a 75-run partnership and kept them in the game. Bravo departed in the 14th over and Samuels by now was shifting gears. Man of the Match in the 2012 WT20 final, he once again provided life support. He might be bad at running between wickets, but makes up for it with big hits. Signs of the momentum shifting came in the 15th over by Liam Plunkett, when Samuels tonked two sixes and a four. But dismissals of Andre Fletcher and Sammy meant England stayed ahead of the game going into the final over.
Enter Brathwaite. The first ball from Stokes went backward square-leg, the second sailed over long-on. The third went over long-off. England looked shell shocked. By now, the crowd was going mental and Brathwaite sealed it with another six.
England: Roy b Badree 0, Hales c Badree b Russell 1, Root c Benn b Brathwaite 54, Morgan c Gayle b Badree 5, Buttler c Bravo b Brathwaite 36, Stokes c Simmons b Bravo 13, Moeen c Ramdin b Bravo 0, Jordan (not out) 12, Willey c Charles b Brathwaite 21, Plunkett c Badree b Bravo 4, Rashid (not out) 4, Extras (lb 4, w 1) 5. Total (for nine wickets, 20 overs) 155. Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-8, 3-23, 4-84, 5-110, 6-110, 7-111, 8-136, 9-142. Bowling: Badree 4-1-16-2, Russell 4-021-1, Benn 3-0-40-0, Bravo 4-0-37-3, Brathwaite 4-0-23-3, Sammy 1-0-14-0.
West Indies: Charles c Stokes b Root 1, Gayle c Stokes b Root 4, Samuels (not out) 85, Simmons lbw Willey 0, Bravo c Root b Rashid 25, Russell c Stokes b Willey 1, Sammy c Hales b Willey 2, Brathwaite (not out) 34, Extras (lb 3, w 6) 9, Total (for six wickets, 19.4 overs) 161. Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-5, 3-11, 4-86, 5-104, 6-107. Bowling: Willey 4-0-20-3, Root 1-0-9-2, Jordan 4-0-36-0, Plunkett 4-0-29-0, Rashid 4-0-23-1, Stokes 2.4-0-41-0.
Stats that matter
23 Samuel Badree has 23 wickets between the overs 1-6 in T20Is, the most for any spinner.
50 The WT20 final was Chris Gayle’s 50th T20I. He is the fourth to play 50 or more T20Is for WI.
50 Joe Root’s 50 off 33 balls is the joint-fastest in WT20 finals. Kumar Sangakkara reached the landmark in 33 balls in 2014.
249 Number of runs for Root in this tournament, the most for England.
on top of world
2 Samuels won his second MoM award in WT20 finals.
85 Samuels’ 85* at Eden on Sunday and 78 in 2012 are the two highest scores in WT20 finals.
3 West Indies have now beaten England in the final of 1979 World Cup, 2004 Champions Trophy and 2016 World T20.
1 WI were the first team to win two ODI WCs. They are now the first to win two T20 WCs.
Carlos Brathwaite was bought for Rs 4.2 crore by Delhi Daredevils against his base price of Rs 30 lakh.
England in trouble straightaway, losing three inside five, with Samuel Badree having a hand in all three. Joe Root and Jos Buttler steady the ship.
From 84/3, England slump to 111/7 with Carlos Brathwaite taking the key wicket of Root. David Willey takes team to respectability.
At it Again
England surprise by asking Root to bowl second over. Part-time off-spinner springs bigger surprise by sending back both openers in his only over.
From 11/3, Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo take team to 84. Three quick wickets and mounting run rate increase pressure on West Indies.
With 27 needed from 2 overs, Chris Jordan concedes just 8. England start the last over as favourites before Brathwaite comes up with the blows of his life.