Caribbean party in Colombo
West Indies beat hosts Sri Lanka by 36 runs to grab the World T20 title; Samuels Man of the Match
Sri Lanka once again imploded on the big day in spectacular style as the West Indies, living up to the pre-tournament hype, lifted their maiden World T20 title here at the R Premadasa stadium on Sunday.
Chasing West Indies’ 137/6, a total made that much more intimidating by the slow nature of the surface for the final, the hosts made a hash of their chase to crash to 101 all out in 18.4 overs, handing a 36-run win to the Caribbeans. While it was the first major title for the West Indies after their triumph in the 2004 Champions Trophy in England, Sri Lanka’s search for a big win remained unfulfilled, their losing stretch extending to four finals since the 2007 World Cup.
While Windies’ win was indeed fashioned by their slower bowlers and some extraordinary effort on the field, notwithstanding some dropped catches, Marlon Samuels (78, 56b, 3x4, 6x6) was the man beind their successful mission. On a day when their biggest hope – Chris Gayle – failed to fire, his fellow Jamaican produced the innings of his life that stood between Sri Lanka and victory.
Though the pitch was far from as easy as Samuels made it look like, Lanka were the victims of their own diffidence to some extent. They were a trifle slow to begin with and then employed too many unconventional strokes on a turning track. The school-boyish stuff while running between the wickets only compounded their misery.
With due respect to his previous performances, question will have to be raised about Gayle’s big-match temperament. While his calm demeanour gives little away about the kind of pressure he would be going through, this is not the first time the six-hitting machine has flopped in a final. His performances for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in both the IPL and Champions League T20 finals in 2011 were along similar lines – a three-ball duck and a 12-ball five.
The southpaw, who had demolished Australia in his customary brutal fashion, was tied down by a disciplined Lankan attack after Darren Sammy chose to bat first. With the 35,000 capacity crowd strongly behind them, the West Indian batsmen appeared intimidated having lost opener Johnson Charles for a five-ball duck.
The new-ball combination of Angelo Mathews and Nuwan Kulasekara grasped the conditions quickly and bowled intelligently. On a slow track, the duo maintained a nagging length and line and gave little away in terms of pace for the big Jamaican to play his strokes.
And whenever he chanced his arms, it was just a swing-and-miss.
The introduction of Ajantha Mendis was the final straw. Gayle hardly managed to pick the mystery spinner and after a series of pokes and dabs, he missed a straighter one to be caught plumb in front in the last of Power Play overs at the end of which they had limped to 14/2 – the worst start in this tournament.
The reaction from the crowd and the celebration of the Lankan players at the fall of Gayle indicated just how much they valued that scalp. As has been witnessed previously, the dismissal of the opener set the panic button in the Caribbean camp.
Notwithstanding a 59-run (49b) recovery act between Samuels and Dwayne Bravo, Windies slid to 87 for five with Ajantha virtually unplayable during his impressive spell of 4-0-12-4.
On a day when all regular bowlers were right on the money, Lasith Malinga was way too profligate. The right-arm quick was taken apart by Samuels in an awesome display of power-hitting. The right-handed batsman treated the slinger with utter disdain as he reeled off five sixes, one longer than the other, spread over two overs. Those two overs leaked 21 and 19 runs, providing Windies with a winning target on a wearing strip.
Charles c Kulasekara b Mathews 0
Gayle lbw A Mendis 3
Samuels c J Mendis b D’jaya 78
(56b, 3x4, 6x6)
Dwayne lbw A Mendis 19
Pollard c Dhananjaya b A Mendis 2
Russell lbw A Mendis 0
Sammy (not out) 26
Ramdin (not out) 4
Extras (LB-2, W-3) 5
Total (for 6 wkts, 20 overs) 137
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Charles), 2-14 (Gayle), 3-73 (Dwayne), 4-87 (Pollard), 5-87 (Russell), 6-105 (Samuels).
Bowling: Mathews 4-1-11-1 (w-1), Kulasekara 3-0-22-0 (w-1), Malinga 4-0-54-0, A Mendis 4-0-12-4 (w-1), Dhananjaya 3-0-16-1, J Mendis 2-0-20-0.
Runs during Power Play: 1-6 overs: 14/2.
Jayawardene c Sammy b Narine 33
Dilshan b Rampaul 0
Sangakkara c Pollard b Badree 22
Mathews b Sammy 1
J Mendis (run out) 3
Perera (run out) 3
Thirimanne c Charles b Sammy 4
Kulasekara c Badree b Narine 26
(13b, 3x4, 1x6)
Malinga c Dwayne b Narine 5
A Mendis c Dwayne b Samuels 1
Dhananjaya (not out) 0
Extras (LB-2, NB-1) 3
Total (all out, 18.4 overs) 101
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Dilshan), 2-48 (Sangakkara), 3-51 (Mathews), 4-60 (Jayawardene), 5-61 (J Mendis), 6-64 (Perera), 7-69 (Thirimanne), 8-96 (Kulasekara), 9-100 (A Mendis).
Bowling: Samuel Badree 4-0-24-1, Ravi Rampaul 3-0-31-1 (nb-1), Marlon Samuels 4-0-15-1, Chris Gayle 2-0-14-0, Narine 3.4-0-9-3, Sammy 2-0-6-2.
Runs during Power Play: 1-6 overs: 30/1.