BY Ayyaz Malik
The West Indies Male team secured a thrilling four-wicket win over England’s men on Sunday 3rd April to win the world T20 tournament for a second time. The title win for West Indies’ men also sees the Caribbean side clinch a historic treble victory, as their women’s side and under 19’s side also secured equal world cup glory.
Both England and West Indies’ men surprised the cricketing world by getting this far to the final of the tournament. England ,who in the last 50 over world cup suffered a humiliating group stage exit and loss sides such as Bangladesh, have been in transition since. This ‘transitional period’ has been encouraging for England as they managed to beat sides of the calibre of New Zealand and Pakistan in limited overs format.
Coming into this tournament, The Barmy Army would have been understandably optimistic, but maybe not as expectant as in other tournaments. Having said that though however, Eoin Morgan (who replaced former captain Alistair Cook in somewhat controversial circumstances) has managed to mould a very talented squad together.
At the top of the batting order, England had one of the best opening pairings in the cricketing world right now in Jason Roy and Alex Hales. Over the past 12 months if not more, England’s mindset has been to ‘get after the bowling early’ and in Roy and Hales you have two players who are very good at doing that.
It’s not just the England top order that world cricket should be scared of. This current England batting line-up has 10 players who can most definitely bat! Even current occupant of the number 11 batting position Liam Plunkett is no ‘mug with the bat’, let’s just say.
These factors all combined to helped England get to the final, including their deep batting line up. Players such as Chris Jordan and David Willey have been outstanding with the ball in the world T20, which gives the team a good sense of balance. The 2010 world champions deserved their place in the final, despite a few ‘hiccups’.
As for their opponents West Indies who themselves were champions in 2012, have been just as impressive in this tournament under the brilliant leadership of the very likeable Darren Sammy.
Thirty-year-old Sammy plays in domestic T20 leagues over the world in this format, and although he hasn’t bowled much in this particular tournament, the Sun Risers Hyderabad man has managed to galvanise the team together.
West Indies, who were in the same starting group as England, began the tournament with a very confident win over their rivals as a Chris Gayle century helped West Indies secure an impressive win over England in a high-scoring game. Impressive wins against Sri Lanka and South Africa, but much to the surprise of all the Caribbean side lost to Afghanistan in their final game. That win for Asian outfit Afghanistan was their first in world cup competition, excluding qualifiers.
When the Afghans arrived home, they were greeted with a thoroughly deserved hero’s welcome. Despite that blemish on their record though, West Indies remained in impressive form throughout.
A side that includes Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Marlon Samuels to just name a few talented players, should never be taken lightly. As talented as those players are, players such as Andre Fletcher have impressed in this world
The final itself was played at Eden Gardens in Calcutta. If earlier matches were anything to go by then this final was expected to be a low-scoring game, with the pitch being somewhat unresponsive.
For England batting first it seemed like they were having issues with the pitch, as Hales, Roy and Morgan all fell cheaply. Despite the heroics of Joe Root and Joss Buttler who showed the kind of fight the other batsmen weren’t able to, England could only finish on a disappointing 155-9 off of their 20 overs .
Such a score seemed to fall a bit short, but England roared themselves back into the game with unlikely hero Joe Root. Root, who does bowl part-time spin, accounted for the dangerous pairing of Chris Gayle and Johnson Charles.
When David Willey trapped Lendl Simmonds for a duck, the game looked like it had swung back in England’s favour. A 75 run stand between Samuels and Bravo, however, swiftly got the Caribbean side back into the game.
This game was to take another twist as West Indies lost three quick wickets. England were sensing victory, but Carlos Brathwaite and Marlon Samuels had other ideas. Together the pair put on a match-winning stand of 54, which helped the Windies lift the trophy.
Brathwaite sealed the game for the West Indies with four monster sixes in a row off the bowling of Ben Stokes. A sad end to the tournament for England and Stokes, but they definitely played admirably from start to finish.
As for West Indies, this world cup win is fitting for them and their supporters considering the off-field politics they have had to endure in recent times. Especially since the Windies women beat Australia in the women’s final and the under 19’s had already achieved success, hopefully, this is a sign that West Indies cricket is on the rise again.
Great news cricket fans, a ‘sleeping giant’ has awoken!