The soul of West Indies cricket redeemed again in style but it left Sri Lankan’s worries to increase as they failed yet again in the final hurdle of the world championship.
In what was a bizarre but equally energetic final one could have witnessed, the team from Caribbean scripted a miraculous victory over the host nation Srilanka in the final of world T20 at R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo. In a surprisingly low scoring match, audience were thrilled to the maximum as the seesaw battle between two teams for crown saw West Indies defeat Srilanka by a huge margin of 36 runs. The intensity of the match was so high that both teams played to the occasion rather against each other.
Winning the toss and batting first, West Indies were like lost in the sea on what to do in the field. Much to their mighty powerful batting line-up, they scored just 14 runs in first six overs, their first run of the bat came in 17th ball of the match and were still striking at paltry run rate of 4.00 till 12th over before Samuels decided enough is enough. Chris Gayle, who was expected to storm the opponent was tentative, his vigil stay at the crease came to an end with Mendis trapping him plumb in front of stumps for just 3 runs off 16 balls, summing up the reasons for very slow scoring rate of West Indies. Kulasekara, Mathews, Mendis and young 19yr old Dananjaya were too brilliant for West Indies to cope. Especially Mendis, who dismissed Gayle, Bravo, Pollard and Russel, finished with figures of 4/12 from his spell of four overs. He should had the player of the match, Marlon Samuels too but Kulasekara dropped the catch on the lines of boundary and give him a new lease of life. Samuels made full use of it as he blistered to his career high score of 78 runs, which included six big sixes after struggling early in the innings. Malinga, one of the best T20 bowler in the world, had his rare worse day with ball. He got hammered by Samuels for 39 runs, five sailed over the ropes in it, from a battle that had just 11 balls between them. A superb cameo of 26 runs off 15 balls from captain Darren Sammy in the end means, West Indies posted a fighting total of 137.
Srilanka added the pressure of their search to elusive world title after 1996 world cup triumph to the small total of 137 and made the chase look rather difficult than it should be. West Indies bowlers rose to the occasion too. Sammy was not extravagant with his tactical moves like Jayawardene but he kept it simple, simple that made life poorer for already pressure scummed Srilanka batsmen on the field, as only three of their player entered into double digit in scoring.
Rampaul drawn the first blood for Windies in his first over. Dilshan saw his off-stump up rooted to a ball that straightened after pitching in around middle and off. Jayawardene and Sangakkara, the two most experienced duo in trying to consolidate, let the game drift away further. Sangakkara, 22 off 26 balls, pulled a half tracker from leg spinner Badree straight to the hands of Pollard at deep mid-wicket and later his partner Jayawardene, in need of quick runs, went for reverse sweep and top edged the ball to point against Narine for 33 off 36 balls. Mathews, 1, after just arriving to crease, tried to paddle sweep the slower ball from Sammy, only to see his stumps clattering. Both Jeevan Mendis and Thusara Perera were run-out to the fielding brilliance of Bravo and Ramdin respectively.
At 69/7, with everything lost for Srilanka, Kulasekara, provided a glimmer of hope as he plundered Rampaul for 20 runs in the 16th over of the match. But it was all short lived with him dismissed by Narine in the very next over and West Indies completing their formalities to win the match in 19th over to bring-out their Gangnam style dance celebrations.
Marlon Samuels named as player for the match for his match changing 78 off 56 balls and Shane Watson, unsurprisingly, was adjudged as the player of the tournament.
Brief Score: West Indies 137/6 (Samuels 78, Sammy 26*, Mendis 4/12) defeated Srilanka 101 (Jayawardene 33, Kulasekara 26, Narine 3/9)