West Indies’ bowler Sunil Narine, right, celebrates with teammate Ravi Rampaul after taking the wicket of Sri Lanka's captain Mahela Jayawardene, during the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup final match in Colombo, Sri Lanka, yesterday. AP Photo
Colombo— West Indies stunned Sri Lanka by pulling off one of the most amazing turnarounds in Twenty20 history, to win the ICC T20 World Cup by 36 runs, yesterday.
Marlon Samuels played simply the best Twenty20 international innings ever seen when West Indies were down, blasting 78 in his team’s 137 for six, which included six massive sixes. Sri Lanka could muster only 101, falling with eight balls left.
So stunning was Samuels’ innings that Lasith Malinga, Sri Lanka’s most experienced bowler went for 0 for 54 from his four overs.
West Indies were 14 for 2 after Powerplays and 32 for 2 after 10 overs, the fourth-worst scores at these points in the history of Twenty20 internationals. They even took 17 balls to score their first run off the bat. Yet so breathtaking was Samuels’ assault, never mind the wickets falling around him, that Sri Lanka were too stunned to respond.
Captain Darren Sammy also contributed big to the win. That the man who has led the team through times when others had deserted it, despite obvious question marks over his skills, played a crucial role on the big night of a tournament that had threatened to make him almost superfluous. When Samuels got out, West Indies were still 108 in the 18th over. They needed a strong finish to keep fighting. And fight Sammy did. He swung and ran like hell, turning three ones into twos in the last over, hitting two fours around those scrambles and ending with 26 from just 15 balls.
It was perhaps a little easy to carry on after Samuels had struck. Samuels struck when Malinga had come back to try to deliver the knockout blow. Samuels counterattacked sensationally. All Malinga had to do was miss his yorker by a few inches in the 13th over, and Samuels stunned him with three of the finest sixes: a flick over deep midwicket, a loft over long-on, and a beautiful drive over extra cover. Still only 69 for 2 after 13, but it helped West Indies show fight.
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene brought back his trumpcard Ajantha Mendis, who responded with three wickets in his last two overs: Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard.
In between those two overs, however, Samuels continued his assault, taking apart Jeevan Mendis. Then was the turn of the man widely acknowledged as the best bowler in Twenty20 cricket. After hitting Malinga for a four and a six, Samuels got a length ball, which he sent onto the roof of the stadium—the biggest six of the tournament at 108 metres.
Angelo Mathews said during the break that West Indies were still 15-20 short. Perhaps they were, but the momentum of that onslaught—105 in last 10—was huge. If Sri Lanka were not already in their shells, a superb first ball from Ravi Rampaul sent Tillakaratne Dilshan's off stump cartwheeling. His finger went to his lips. The crowd, though, had already been stunned into silence.
Sangakkara targeted Samuel Badree, and even though he hit a four, he also deposited a long hop to deep midwicket where Keiron Pollard held the catch. Sammy now put in another squeeze. Mathews was finding that he had spoken too early. Three dots later, he moved across and the stumps were laid prone. Sammy hit them with a slower ball. Now it began to drizzle. Sri Lanka were well behind D/L now, and Jayawardene had to take risks. Never really flowing in his effort, Jayawardene mistimed a reverse shot, and holed out to point off Sunil Narine for 33.
After that Nuwan Kulasekara was just a minor irritant to celebrations the world had been waiting to watch. Gayle, who might have failed with just 3 off 16, was the man dancing the hardest with every falling wicket. He was also the first with his arm around Rampaul, who bowled an over late in the piece that was as ordinary as his first wicket was extraordinary.
After that 22-run over, Sri Lanka needed 44 from four overs, not unheard of in T20. Sammy, though, had kept the trump card back. On cue, Narine delivered Kulasekara’s wicket. The birthday boy, Bravo, who had got a shocker from the umpire when he batted, was the man at the end of the two catches that finished the match.
The time had finally arrived to party, and West Indies partied as well as they had played. (CMC)
Johnson Charles c Kulasekara b Mathews 0
Chris Gayle lbw b Ajantha Mendis 3
Marlon Samuels c Jeevan Mendis b Dananjaya 78
Dwayne Bravo lbw b Ajantha Mendis 19
Kieron Pollard c Dananjaya b Ajantha Mendis 2
Andre Russell lbw b Ajantha Mendis 0
Darren Sammy not out 26
Denesh Ramdin not out 4
Extras: (2lb, 3w) 5
TOTAL: (for 6 wickets) 137
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-14, 3-73, 4-87, 5-87, 6-108.
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