Collapses, recoveries and a final heist
West Indies stole victory from the jaws of defeat as they beat England by four wickets in an intense final at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Marlon Samuels' unbeaten 85 runs off 66 balls and Carlos Brathwaite’s stunning four successive sixes did the trick as the match see-sawed for the duration of the 40 overs.
England collapse and recover
For the 10th consecutive time, West Indies skipper Darren Sammy won the toss, and he had no qualms over chasing again, hoping to repeat their stunning semi-final win over India in Mumbai. England wanted to bowl first too, but they had no option but to put a challenging total on board.
They suffered a horrific start to their innings, with Samuel Badree bowling a wonderful spell of 4-1-16-2, removing both Jason Roy (0) and skipper Eoin Morgan (5). In between, Andre Russell (1-21) removed Alex Hales (1) and England were struggling at 23 for three with Joe Root the only one looking comfortable at the crease.
He got together with Jos Buttler to put on 61 runs for the fourth wicket, thus repairing the damage. The latter started playing some strokes, inclusive of three sixes, and it started appearing that England were ready to make a dash for a big total. But then he was out caught in the deep off Brathwaite (3-23). The score at the halfway mark read 67 for three, with Root completing a brilliant half-century off 33 balls.
While he was at the crease, England still had hopes of a competitive total, even as Dwayne Bravo (3-23) removed Ben Stokes (13) and Moeen Ali (0) in the same over. Root decided to propel the scoring thereafter, but was out caught at short fine leg instead, making it three wickets in quick succession for a second time in the innings.
It was then down to Chris Jordan (12 not out) and David Willey (21) to play some shots, and they managed to add 25 runs for the eighth wicket, thus taking the English total across the 150-mark in the final over, finishing at 155 for nine. It was a great recovery given their precarious position early on, but given the Windies’ power-hitting ability, was this total going to be enough?
West Indies also collapse and recover
Willey (3-20) bowled a tight opening spell, but the surprise came when Root (2-9) was asked to bowl the second over. He struck twice, removing both Johnson Charles (1) and Chris Gayle (4) in the space of three deliveries, both caught in the same manner, hitting the ball to the fielder in the deep.
Willey then had Lendl Simmons (0) trapped LBW and the West Indies were struggling at 11 for three in their chase of 156.
It brought Samuels to the crease and he added 75 runs with Dwayne Bravo (25), mostly running the ones and twos. They hit only five boundaries in their 50-run partnership, something unusual for this batting line-up and it showed as they reached 54 for three at the halfway stage. Samuels was playing a knock reminiscent of the one he played in the 2012 final, as he reached his half-century off 47 balls and continued guiding the chase.
Even so, something had to give and the turning point came when he was adjudged caught behind off Liam Plunkett (0-29) in the seventh over, only for replays to show that Jos Buttler had grassed the chance. Samuels was called back and started showing greater urgency, but it was Bravo who sacrificed his wicket, caught in the deep in the 14th over off Adil Rashid (1-23).
The Final Play
Willey then turned the match in England’s favour with his spell at the death, removing both Andre Russell (1) and Darren Sammy (2) in the space of three balls in the 16th over. It was left to Samuels to do the bulk of the work, and he took the majority of the strike. However, his running between the wickets was poor, and the laziness with which extra runs were not taken, was telling.
Finally, when Chris Jordan (0-36) bowled an impressive penultimate over, the equation came down to 19 off six balls, and it was Brathwaite on strike, not Samuels. Ben Stokes (0-41) came on to bowl, and for four consecutive deliveries, he was dispatched for sixes, as the game finished in stunning fashion with two balls to spare.
The first one was inspiring as it gave West Indies a glimmer of hope. The second one brought them back into the game, with seven runs needed off five balls. The third pushed Stokes to his knees, not ready to believe what had just happened. The fourth was a poignant reminder of the ammunition in this West Indies’ line-up and why they were crowned two-time champions in this T20 format.
© Cricket World 2016