West Indies created history on Sunday night (April 23) by becoming the first nation to win the ICC World T20 twice with a dramatic four-wicket victory over England riding on Carlos Brathwaite’s 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 Daredevils 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 they danced to the now popular Bravo rap of ‘Champion’ in unison. Earlier in the day, they had claimed their first Women’s World Twenty20 with a pulsating eight-wicket win over Australia in Kolkata.
For England’s bowling unit, the hero certainly was 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 master stroke. 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 the key. Gayle may have thought about Moeen Ali and it was Root who did flight the ball.
However, England bowlers maintained tight lines as West Indies reached 54 for 3 in 10 overs needing 102 from the 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 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 the next three overs.
Before the collapse, the boundaries were flowing 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, added 26 runs together when Bravo bowled a sharp bouncer to get rid of Stokes.
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.
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 game plan straight against the spin-wary Englishmen by sticking to Badree up front and the leg spinner 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.