Samuels cherishes battle with Malinga
Just as Yohan Blake has lived under the giant shadow of his fellow Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, Marlon Samuels has had to play second fiddle to the larger-than-life image of Chris Gayle.
And just like Blake has managed to steal some thunder from his more celebrated compatriot on occasions, Sunday was one such instance when Samuels put Gayle in the shade with arguably the most crucial innings in a T20 international. The talk before the final had all centred around Gayle and the damage he could inflict on the opposition, but the disciplined Sri Lankan bowlers systematically neutralised his effect taking him out for a 15-ball three.
In the process, the hosts may have discounted Samuels’ capacity to heap destruction.
Where Gayle is an assault on your aesthetic cricket senses, if there is such a thing at all, Samuels is a sight for the sore eyes even when he smacks the ball deep into the stands. The way he dismantled Lasith Malinga, one of the finest T20 bowlers, on Sunday night in the face of immense pressure was at once pleasing and stunning.
“I was still waiting there for someone to come and build a partnership,” said Samuels
when asked what was going through his mind when the Windies could barely manage 30 runs from the first 10 overs. “Since that did not happen I decided to take on Malinga. From last night I was playing Malinga in my mind and I decided to take him on. I had faced him against Mumbai Indians and he got me out bowled and I was very upset. So, it was my time to get back at him.” Just like that.
Samuels was hopeful that the World T20 title will revive cricket in the Caribbean. “We lived ourselves as favourites coming into this tournament. We may have been the favourites but at the end of the day we had to come up with our best cricket.
“In the past we had some near misses but nevertheless, with God willing, we came out on top. We are here today to say that West Indies cricket is back regardless of their situation. This T20 cup can bring in a lot of fans to watch us around the world, they still love to watch the West Indies cricket,” he elaborated.
The man of the final also felt Test cricket too will get fillip after this success.
“It is hard to explain what this victory means to me and my team. Sri Lanka beat us twice -- in a practice match and in the Super Eights. But I told Chris (Gayle) that we can't lose to them thrice. All the hard work paid off today. The West Indies are finally going well again, we have a great future. I think West Indies are going to do well, even in Test cricket. Test cricket is the best cricket.”