Great Floridians, KC & the Sunshine Band, sang best how we are feeling now; “That’s the way we like it!” Miami Carnival is swinging this weekend. With West Indies emphatically beating Australia in the International Cricket council (ICC) World Twenty20 (WT20) semifinal, it helped us all to celebrate fully: singing, dancing, even cavorting and contorting in that Korean mambo style adopted in Sri Lanka—Gangnam Dancing—jumping and waving! Aha! Aha!
Also, I am sure that being born Guyanese of Wapishana Indian extraction, three generations removed, I will one day use powers given to me at birth to foretell six lottery numbers that would allow me full financial freedom for the rest of my life. I do not know about obeah, but I could well be a soothsayer!
After all, I did confidently highlight the absolute progress of West Indies to latter stages of WT20, even having semifinal opponents too—Australia. If only I could do those six numbers real quick now! Our senior men’s cricket representatives played a magnificently complete semifinal against Australia.
In Sudden Impact, the 1983 crime biopic, Clint Eastwood starred and directed, his fourth role as detective “Dirty” Harry Callahan, he suggested; “Yes, I have heard about you; you are a legend in your own mind!” If he was describing present West Indies cricketers at ICC WT20, Eastwood would have been extremely incorrect for possibly, both West Indian teams there could even become legends in our own time too.
Not since September 2004 was West Indies’ men in a world final. Unexpectedly, they won ICC Champions Trophy then—versus England. It would be much more difficult now, playing the final versus Sri Lanka today. West Indies have come this far, so they must go all the way now. They have no choice!
Clive Lloyd, Deryck Murray, Alvin Kallicharran and Viv Richards, under whose captaincy I played international cricket, claimed, probably learned from long stints in English county cricket: “Either team can win any final. Past form does not count. The team that plays better on final day will win!”
At least our present senior men’s representative team is not as filled with sycophants as we thought. They actually delivered wonderfully when it mattered most. As a unit, they overcame all to this final! For once, even without full consistency, West Indies’ barks and self-importance have been followed by even more dangerous bites, justifying fawning acolytes’ belief that they could overcome any present frivolous inabilities. West Indies have certainly turned in a massive, positive effort in this tournament!
Also, retribution is a hell of a thing. Just ask gangsters not with us anymore or the battered Australians. Just when you think that you have gotten away with whatever nefarious endeavours or even previously beating a team, as Australia did in the group game, past deeds do come back to haunt—doubly. Time is longer than everything else. If you wait, things will come to fruition, as it is now for Australia.
That West Indies managed its second highest total in T20 cricket, 205-4, against the marauding Australians, just below that 209-2 made against versus New Zealand last June, gives massive credence that West Indies is gelling well. That they massacred the Aussies, beating them by 74 runs, was the culmination of revenge!
In that same Sudden Impact, Eastwood also suggested, prophetically: “Go ahead; make my day!” If he was speaking about West Indies’ effort against Australia in that semifinal last Friday, Clint might have paraphrased it with the more appropriate: “We will give you severe nightmares anyway!” Only too true!
My several warnings in the last several weeks have been as vivid as ever: cricket is not played in dressing rooms or on paper. Being favourites does not automatically allow any team that right to win anything. To win competitions, teams must be fully ready for all situations that obtain. Initially, West Indies looked so unsteady, even poor, especially against both Sri Lanka and Australia. They have certainly made up for that with this effort in the semifinal. It has been some time since I have seen such a complete game.
I did warn that Australia, even rated No 9 at the start of this tournament, were dangerous. Later today, the other real favourites, Sri Lanka, the home team, similarly touted in one of my recent articles, will try to beat West Indies at its own game, but in their own backyard! What a good show from these teams! Some of West Indies captain Darren Sammy’s decisions and selections were not that great, like playing Fidel Edwards ahead of Samuel Badree while losing to Sri Lanka, but Sammy would be eternally grateful to Christopher Henry Gayle that his maturity allowed absolutely crucial inputs to team efforts. Great trainers always suggest: “You must peak at the right time!” All must now hail West Indies’ peak!
Especially Gayle, Marlon Samuels and rest of West Indies batting, bowlers Sunil Narine and Badree too, must take on the in-form homeboys Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, and two best bowlers, Ajantha Mendis and Rangan Herath. Expect a very explosive final! Enjoy!