Samuels, Brathwaite show nerves of steel to down England in pulsating final at Eden Gardens
Chasing a tricky target of 156, it was Marlon Samuels, who did an encore of the 2012 final that Darren Sammy’s men had won, hitting a magnificent 85 not out off 66 balls with nine boundaries and two huge sixes.
However it was the unheralded giant Brathwaite, who showed why he commanded such a record IPL price from Delhi Daredvils scoring 34 off only 10 balls as he hit the four most important maximums of his short cricketing career.
With 19 runs needed off the final over, Brathwaite hit the first ball behind square for a six and the next was hit over long-on for a six and the third over long-off to basically bring down the equation 1 off 3 balls before finishing off with another hit over deep mid-wicket.
The entire stadium save a few English fans erupted in joy as the West Indies team members rushed to the field to congratulate the heroes. It was one of the most beautiful sights as the women’s team also joined their men as the danced to the now popular Bravo rap of ‘Champion’ in unison. They took a ‘lap of Honour from an Eden Gardens that gave them a standing ovation.
The West Indies despite all their problems are now World Champions in U-19, women’s and men’s World T20.
For England’s bowling unit, the hero certainly would left-arm seamer David Willey, who had phenomenal figures of 3/20 in 4 overs with an astounding 13 dot balls as he increased pressure on the Caribbean batsmen before Stokes frittered it away.
Eoin Morgan took a calculative risk introducing part-time off-spinner Root in the second over and it turned out to be a masterstroke. Root snuffed out Chris Gayle (4) and Johnson Charles (0), both trying to hit a six and caught by Ben Stokes in the deep.
It was Morgan’s ability to play on Gayle’s mind that proved to be key. Gayle may thought about Moeen Ali and it was Root, who did flight the ball.
From 5/2 it became 11/3 as last game’s ‘Man of The Match’ Lendl Simmons (0) was caught plumb in-front as Willey got one to shape back.
In the final over of the Powerplay, Marlon Samuels (27) spanked three boundaries off Chris Jordan to take the score to 37. He had a close shave when he edged one off Liam Plunkett to Jos Buttler which Rod Tucker had given out. But replays showed that the England wicketkeeper did not take the catch cleanly and the batsman got a reprieve.
However England bowlers maintained tight lines West Indies reached 54 for 3 in 10 overs needing 102 from remaining 10 overs. But Samuels and of course Brathwaite had other ideas.
This was also the first time that a target in excess of 150 was chased in a World T20 final.