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WI Guided By Samuels Crowned T20 World Champions

October 8, 2012

Many people won’t have thought that the final would be such a surprising encounter as both West Indies and the hosts Sri Lanka were not thought to be the hot favourites for the tournament. But some upset results, some poor performances from the big teams when it really mattered, some disciplined cricket from the Lankans and last but not the least the Gayle storm were the deciding factors which had set the clash between the two teams. But as they walk in for one final time in the field in this tournament many of the myths were coming in front of us, some of them going in favour of the visitors, and some going in favour of the hosts.

  1. In spite of not having a consistent great ICC ranking it has been quite some time now that the Lankans have been a very disciplined performing side when it comes to the big tournaments. But somehow someway they have not been able to wrap the things up.
  2. Chris Gayle, the man who has taken his team, whatever the team he is playing for many a few times in the recent past with his broad willow through to the finals, but neither he had the last laugh. He himself remained off colour, so as the team who were unable to get pass the final finish line.

As the tournament kicked off having seen the bounce and carry of the wickets I got really surprised. The land of Murali seemed like a whole new different one all together. But as the tournament progressed Sri Lanka again came to their old ploy. Relying much more on the spinning tracks. Yes, it is certainly an advantageous thing to have on a sub-continental wicket and especially when they are playing in their home soil. But something what they should have really watched out for is the kind of a variety the West Indies had in their spin attack. Sunil Narine had been the mystery of world cricket since the last version of the IPL. And when the likes of Badree, Gayle and Samuels get added to that, one can find WI spinning options even more versatile than that of Sri Lanka. So when you are going for a spinning track you against such a mysterious spin attack you are taking a huge gamble. And gambles don’t pay off every day, neither they did tonight.

Sri Lanka having lost the toss possibly got the best start that one can get. In the first 10 overs the Lankan bowlers just didn’t allow the batsmen of the opponent to get away. The very first over was a wicket maiden. Pressure built up and resulted in the wicket of dangerous Gayle, who once again was unable to make his mark with the bat in a cup final. At the first half of the innings the scoring rate was under 4, but Samuels had some other thoughts. The kind of stroke making he showed along with the range of his shots, the power, skill and execution of shots to perfection was all that could be seen as the highlights of the WI innings. Nuwan Kulasekara would be remembering the drop chance of Gautam Gambhir one and a half years ago in Mumbai, and everyone knows what did it cost. But tonight when he dropped Samuels at long on and smiled asking for apology to the bowler, he probably won’t have ever imagined that he dropped the world cup for the second time. Because if you take out the innings of Samuels there is hardly anything to show from the West Indian batting, apart from something what the captain provided towards the end.

Jayawardene on the other hand was spot on with the bowling changes, so as Mendis with the ball, hence restricting the WI inside 140. But what created the panic in Lankans’ mind was how badly their premier fast bowler was dispossessed by Samuels as he crashed him for 39 of 11 deliveries. And that has been one more important feature of this WI side, they have been hitting more sixes than boundaries. If you look at both the teams WI are the team who have some clean strikers of the ball who can make the difference. Someday when Gayle doesn’t click it comes to Pollard, when he fails there is Bravo, and tonight it was the turn of Marlon Samuels. As a result of whose innings WI finished off the things in a high note as at one stage it looked that they might have been held within 110-115, yet doing a decent recovery. And not only that when they came in to bowl, the got the start in a way exactly what the doctor ordered for them as Dilshan’s off stump went for the walk of Rampaul. He could not disturb the scorers, but the Lankans kept disturbing by the WI spin.

How many times we have seen Sri Lanka to get the better of the teams in D/L method… Weather has been one of the most threatening things for the teams batting second in the Lanka pitch. But tonight it was just not Sri Lanka’s night as they had to taste their own medicine. The spinners took the pace of the ball, and runs were hard to come by in a thick and fast manner. Sri Lanka were going behind of the D/L par score and the weather also was looking threatening for the hosts. They had to take some risks to find their way through. And in the process they lost Sangakkara and Mathews in quick succession.

And thereafter it was all calypso in the Premadasa. I can’t say that it was a great deal of bowling, rather I must say that Sri Lankans made some terrible errors in order to drag themselves towards the edge. The captain departed attempting a reverse sweep, then some horrible running between the wickets. Trying to take an extra run on the semi miss field of someone like Bravo is something like a schoolboy error. They simply gave away a birthday gift to the birthday boy in the process.  How they threw their wickets away remembered me of the last year’s CLT20 final. Margin of defeat could have been even more had Kulasekara not played a cameo towards the end. But the game was literally over a lot before, as when Kulasekara was batting he had to take risks at regular intervals without losing his wicket. But to do this against someone like Narine is something that not even the best batsmen in the world would prefer to do. And as he was held in the boundary the crowd went silent again.

Neither of the above two myths turned out to be wrong tonight. But some myth had to be broken as the trophy could have only gone either way. And guess what was waiting to be broken? It was the unbeaten winning streak of the Lankans against the Caribbean in all the previous international T20 encounters along with millions of Lankan hearts. Yes, the story again remains the same for the sub-continental team just like it was against Australia in 2007, against Pakistan in 2009 and against India in 2011 as WI lead by Darren Sammy put their name in the world cup trophy after 33 years.

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