West Indies dance to victory – literally!
Like a raging fire, West Indies rose again to finally be crowned world champs. And it was heartening to see so -not because Sri Lanka had ousted Pakistan in the semi-final, although I did feel a little satisfaction at that – but because it is after a very long time that West Indies have won something of note.
This is the country, or a collection of Islands depending on your perspective, that gave us world class players like Viv Richards, Clive Loyds, Brian Lara, Curtley Ambrose and many more. They had the best pace attack to have ever graced this wonderful game. They were the most feared bowling line-up ever and demolished batting attacks after batting attacks for a better part of almost two decades.
As a team, their dominance was complete and untouched.
However, since the mid nineties when the Australians took over, the Windies have been in a perpetual free-fall. They couldn’t seem to win anything of note. They kept falling in the rankings and the board in place didn’t help. There were pay disputes and player strikes. Their best player, Chris Gayle, couldn’t find a place in the team because of a row with the board. The captain didn’t have the confidence and on most occasions it was said that he could not command a place in the team.
But all of this is behind them today.
Although they weren’t touted as the next champs coming into the tournament, they were always recognised as a dangerous team that could create an upset. They had big hitters in Gayle and Pollard. They had a mystery spinner in Narine. And then they had other impact players in Samuel and Bravo.
Their progress through the tournament wasn’t very spectacular, although they did score 190 odd against Australia in the first round only to lose by the Duckworth–Lewis method (D/L method), till the semis where they dismantled a strong Australian team to set up a date with Sri Lanka in the final.
In the final, they won the toss and elected to bat first and you could feel the jitters already. Chris Gayle couldn’t get going and after the first ten overs it seemed the West Indies would succumb to the pressure of the final. But Samuel chose that exact moment to announce his presence. He scored 71, West Indies got to 137 and the rest is history.
He was rightly awarded the title of player of the match.
Caribbean cricket has always been free spirited. Always a joy to watch and it was the same here. The players played as if they were enjoying themselves at every moment. They celebrated each other’s success and danced as if there was no tomorrow.
The Gangnam Style showed itself with Gayle leading it.
The show put on in the final was nothing else. Although Gayle failed in the match, he was there cheering and celebrating each wicket and moment as if he was the chief architecture of it.
After beating Pakistan in the semi-final, Sri Lanka had celebrated as if they had already won the tournament. The attitude of their fans bordered on condescension towards playing West Indies in the final.
Well, their party got crashed big time!
This is the second time in the history of the World T20’s that a team that didn’t win a single match in the first round ended up lifting the trophy.
Congratulations West Indies! You deserve to be the champs. Let’s hope that this progress keeps up- the world cricket needs a strong West Indies.
On a side note, this was Simon Taufel’s last match as an international umpire. He has been phenomenal over the years and is one of the most respected umpires of his time. I am not doing justice to the man by mentioning him in a side note but Simon, you were the best and it was always great to see you on the field.
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