When Caribbean flair came to fore

When Caribbean flair came to fore

When Caribbean flair came to fore
The World T20 caravan came to the sub-continent for the first time when Sri Lanka hosted the biennial event in 2012.

Obviously, the teams from the sub-continent were expected to crowd the knockouts given the familiarity of the conditions and skill-sets that suited them. India, despite winning four of their five matches, couldn’t make the semis while Pakistan and Sri Lanka kept the continent’s hopes alive. That these two teams clashed in the last four meant that one of the Asian teams was assured of a place in the final.

India had every reason to feel peeved as just one loss, against Australia in the Super Eight stage, denied them a place in the semis due to poor run-rate while the West Indies, who had just two wins from five matches, made it to the knockouts. It was a bit bizarre but that’s the nature of sport.

Once in the semis, West Indies flexed their muscles in the most brutal fashion. Up against arch-rivals  and formidable Australians, the Caribbeans had two of their biggest T20 stars -- Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard -- firing on all cylinders. Gayle struck a 41-ball 75 (5x4, 6x6) at the top while Pollard provided the final flourish with 15-ball 38 (3x4, 3x6) as West Indies piled on 205/4. Australia proved no match as they crumbled to 131 all out against an assortment of spin and pace bowling.

In the other semis, Sri Lanka made short work of Pakistan in a low-scoring match. While Lanka obviously had the unequivocal support of the home crowd, the rest of the cricketing world rooted for the West Indies.

Sri Lanka, who were in the final for the second time in three years, imploded on the big day while the Windies, living up to pre-tournament hype, lifted their maiden World T20 title.

 The Lankan slow bowlers had done well to restrict West Indies to 137/6 but the hosts made a hash of their target, crashing to 101 all out in 18.1 overs. 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.


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