Windies take home T20 crown
Darren Sammy lived up to his promise of spoiling the big Sri Lankan party.
The Calypso band, one of the favourites to win the World T20 title, turned on the heat on a humid Sunday to pull off a famous win that left the 35,000 crowd heartbroken here at the R Premadasa Stadium. Sammy had talked of bringing their A-plus game on the eve of the summit clash and they did exactly that.
A disciplined bowling — restricting the West Indies to 137/6 — had given Sri Lanka a golden chance to end their three-match losing streak in the finals but their batsmen found the target too steep to chase as the Windies bowled out the hosts for 101 in 18.4 overs, triggering some of the wildest celebrations seen on a cricket field.
West Indies owed their triumph—their first ICC title in almost eight years—to man of the match Marlon Samuels who not only produced an innings (78, 56b, 3x4, 6x6) of high quality to prop up the total but also followed it up with stingy four overs (4-0-15-1) to make a telling difference in the outcome of the match.
Mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis (4/12) had sent the Windies innings into a tailspin but the visitors hit back with one of their own in Sunil Narine, the off-spinner (3/9) putting a spoke in the Lankan wheel.
The victory, given the conditions and circumstances that were heavily loaded against the Caribbeans, also showed that there is more to the West Indian side than just Chris Gayle who once again flattered to deceive on the big stage. Samuels, however, exploded in breathtaking fashion when the Windies innings appeared to be going nowhere.
The right-hander, one of the most pleasing strikers of the cricket ball, picked up Lasith Malinga, one of the most feared bowlers in the T20 format, for special treatment, smashing the paceman for five of his six massive sixes to take the wind out of the Lankan sails.