Alongside the likes of Virat Kohli and Hashim Amla, Marlon Samuels is one of international cricket's most improved players. This remarkable improvement was shown on Sunday with an innings of 78 in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 - a performance which is enough to earn him the accolade of Cricket World Player of the Week.
Samuels smashed 78 off 56 balls and was rightly named man of the match as he transformed the game in his side's favour after they had looked to be in for a thrashing.
The 31 year-old arrived at the crease in the first over following the loss of Johnson Charles and would watch Chris Gayle depart soon afterwards as West Indies limped to 32 for two at the halfway point of their innings with Samuels himself struggling on 20 off 32 balls. However, he, Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy, turned things around in the most spectacular fashion, plundering 89 runs off the final eight overs of the West Indies innings.
Samuels began the transformation by hitting three sixes off Lasith Malinga's second over and Sri Lanka never really wrested back control of the game from then on. The Malinga to Samuels battle was the key point of the game, with the Sri Lankan slinger missing his yorker by only the slenderest of margins and Samuels launching him over the straight boundary on a several occasions. Overall, he hit 39 runs off the 11 balls that he faced from Malinga, including five sixes.
Before his excellence in the final, he had helped West Indies beat Australia in the semi-final with a solid performance with both bat and ball, as well as helping them progress from the super eights by starring in the super over, again with both bat and ball, against New Zealand. In the tournament as a whole, Samuels would hit 230 runs in six innings and take three wickets, as well as hitting the two biggest sixes, both over 100m.
Samuels' biggest rivals for this week's award were his West Indian team-mates Sunil Narine and Chris Gayle. Narine returned figures for the week of eight for 46, while Gayle blazed an unbeaten 75 in the semi-final which rivalled Samuels' efforts in its clean hitting.
Other contenders for this week's award included Ajantha Mendis with hauls of two for 27 and four for 12 against Pakistan and West Indies respectively, while in women's cricket, Jess Cameron (45 in the final against England) and Julie Hunter (five for 22) put in notable performances for Australia.
© Cricket World 2012
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