Kolkata: Six, six, six and another six – how often one gets to witness that from a player whose T20 batting average is 8.33? With 19 required off the last over, Carlos Brathwaite slammed Ben Stokes for 24 runs in four balls to guide West Indies to their second ICC World Twenty20 title here on Sunday.
The Caribbeans – who threw the match away in the middle overs – came back from nowhere to beat England by four wickets.
Skipper Darren Sammy won the toss and elected to field. England limped to 155 for the loss of nine wickets in their stipulated overs.
Having chased 193 against India, the target looked fairly easy; they are T20 specialists. But Joe Root – a part-time spinner – almost snatched the match from their territory.
The youngster, who also contributed with the bat (54 off 36), packed up Johnson Charles (1) and Chris Gayle (4) in the second over. Gayle lasted two deliveries which included a four. Stokes took the catches, one at mid-on and the other towards long-on.
Lendl Simmons, the hero against India, went for a duck – trapped leg-before by David Willey. But Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo’s 75-run stand for the fourth wicket provided some resistance.
Samuels kept the scoreboard ticking and hung on till the end though West Indies kept losing wickets at regular intervals. He remained unbeaten on 85 off 66 balls, which included nine fours and two sixes.
Earlier, England fell to the vicious spin of Samuel Badree. Jason Roy – who stole the headlines for his recent exploits – fell flat in the first over. Badree didn’t even celebrate the clean-up operation; he probably saw it coming. Roy, stuck in his crease like a rabbit in the headlights – went for a nought.
Alex Hales (1), his partner, didn’t last long either. Badree caught him off Andre Russell at short fine leg.
The scoreboard looked tampered (8/2) after two overs; England’s starry pair failed to shine in the principal game. It seemed unbelievable.
Skipper Eoin Morgan (5) kept searching for his mojo before succumbing to a googly from Badree.
However, after Morgan’s departure, in came the realists – Root and Jos Buttler. The pair ensured they justified their position in the World Cup final.
Root and Buttler stitched a 61-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Buttler – who looked hazardous – fell to Brathwaite in the 12th over.
Bravo took his catch at midwicket boundary and broke into his signature dance. Buttler slammed three sixes and a four in his 22-ball 36.
At 88/4, England still looked balanced considering the depth in their batting. But Bravo distorted their plans. He dismissed Stokes (13) and Moeen Ali (0) in the same over. Ali could not read the slower delivery from Bravo and nicked it to Denesh Ramdin behind the stumps.
This time, he celebrated the wicket along with Gayle. The women’s triumph possibly made them psychologically stronger.
After registering a handsome fifty, Root kept running short of partners. Being off strike for a while, his concentration went for a toss as Sulieman Benn caught him off Brathwaite. But he made a solid 54 off 36 balls.
Down the order, Willey displayed his Northampton aggression (21 off 14 which included two sixes).
For West Indies, Brathwaite (3/23) and Badree (2/16) were the pick of the bowlers. Willey (3/20) and Root (2/9) impressed for England....