Millennium Post

The Windies swagger is back

While a jam-packed Premadasa Stadium got stunned into silence by Sri Lanka’s humiliating 36-run loss in World Twenty20 final on Sunday night, scores of cricket fans glued to their television screens across the world were left spellbound by West Indies cricketers who sparked off an incredible party with a hilarious team rendition of South Korean rapper Psy’s smash hit number ‘Gangnam Style’. For the first time since Kapil’s devils shocked the undisputed champions in the World Cup final in 1983, the calypso swagger of West Indies was back in full splendour. Like Brazil’s Samba magic, which mesmerises sports lovers irrespective of their loyalties, West Indies too possess the rare quality of giving joy to millions through their unique style of playing the ‘gentleman’s game.’ Though West Indies won the Champion’s Trophy in 2004, fans at home waited with bated breaths for a triumph at the topmost platform, a level which was synonymous with the island nation not till long ago. There was a period lasting 15 long years during which West Indies didn’t lose even a single series. For a team of such stature, the sudden fall from pinnacle of success to the bottom of cricket rankings was ignominious to say the least. Sunday’s show will surely please the former greats of West Indies. Despite getting off to a horrible start, only 32 runs were scored off the first 10 overs, West Indies recreated calypso magic through Marlon Samuels who took Lasith Malinga to the cleaners. It was sheer good, clean fun to watch them amass 105 runs in the last 10 overs on a slow pitch and then hunt in a pack when Sri Lanka came out to chase the modest target. Though it was sad to see Lanka lose its fourth straight cup final since lifting the World Cup in 1996, even the staunchest of fans will agree that West Indies deserved the honour more than any other team.

Coming into the tournament as favourites, West Indies were almost knocked out before it scripted a scintillating Super Over win over Black Caps in a must-win Super Eight match. What happened after that is history. While Chris Gayle toyed with the red hot Aussies in the semifinal, Samuels proved there are many match-winners in the team apart from the southpaw as the Windies clawed back from a hopeless situation to script a memorable victory. The triumph augurs well for the future of cricket at a time when an overdose of T20s are threatening to kill the game’s popularity. It no longer matters if the team you support crashes out early in any major tournament. You now have the calypso kings to create magic on field.
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