(London Post) The West Indies men’s cricket team has defeated England by four wickets in a thrilling World Twenty20 final. Earlier, the women’s team claimed victory over Australia.
England openers Jason Roy and Alex Hales walked out in front of a near-capacity crowd of more than 60,000, despite the fact that the Indian national team failed to make it to the finals.
But disaster for England struck with the very first ball from leg spinner Samuel Badree, when Roy was bowled through the gate.
Joe Root took on the task of stopping the rot there and then with relish, slamming the first boundary of the innings through the off side. But the next English wicket fell soon, with Hales going for just one run, caught by Badree off the bowling of Andre Russell.
With England at 8-2, captain Eoin Morgan came in at a crucial moment for his team. But he, too, soon went, caught at slip by Chris Gayle off Badree after facing just 12 balls for his five runs.
Root the rock
Root and Jos Buttler soon began opening the throttle, with the latter slamming three sixes, including two successive ones straight down the ground off Sulieman Benn.
But he soon paid for his insolence, being caught by Dwayne Bravo on the midwicket boundary off Carlos Brathwaite’s bowling for 36 off 27 balls in the 12th over, with England on 84.
Root reached his 50 off 33 balls, a shared record for the most rapid half century in a World T20 final. But then Stokes was caught by Lendl Simmons off Bravo after scoring a rapid 13, followed by Moeen Ali on a duck, caught behind by Denesh Ramdin, with Bravo the destroyer once more.
Root himself holed out wanly to Brathwaite just afterwards, being caught by a diving Benn at short fine leg, having made 54.
Chris Jordan and David Willey initially had difficulty finding the gaps in the West Indies field. But Willey then brought the number of sixes in the tournament to 306 with a wallop over midwicket off Bravo.This was followed by another on the off side from the last ball of the same over.
But his innings was ended on 21 by a brilliant diving catch by Johnson Charles, with Brathwaite the bowler. Liam Plunkett went soon after for four, with the diving catch off Bravo’s bowling causing injury to Badree, who had to leave the field with his victim.
Abdil Rashid and Jordan then brought up the 150 in the final over with a four from Jordan, to reach an end total of 155-9.
Johnson Charles and Chris Gayle opened the batting for the West Indies, with T20 superhero Gayle greeted by raucous applause.
However, England’s unexpected tactical move in putting on change off spinner Joe Root as opening bowler paid dividends, with Charles and then Gayle out caught off his bowling, both of them by a jubilant Stokes and both off skied shots.
With West Indies 5-2 at this point, Lendl Simmons and Marlon Samuels were under pressure to perform. But Simmons was out LBW to a swinging delivery by Willey for a duck.
The 50 for the West Indies came in the ninth over off 52 balls, Samuels continuing to lead the scoring. A moment of drama came when Bravo was dropped off Stokes by sub fielder Sam Billings, replacing Alex Hales.
Bravo made good use of his reprieve to smash a googly from Rashid over the fence. Shortly thereafter, Samuels was able to celebrate a patient 50 off 47 balls. But any Windies jubilation was short-lived, as Bravo holed out to Root on 25, Rashid receiving just compensation for the ill-treatment of a few balls before.
With more than 100 now on the board for the West Indies, Russell went for just one run, smashing the first ball by a returning Willey straight into the ever-reliable hands of Stokes. Shortly thereafter, captain Darren Sammy joined him in the dressing room, caught Hales, bowled Willey, who had figures at this stage of 3-6.
The stuff of legends
But Samuels continued swatting boundaries and sixes. Some good fielding by the England players in the outfield, however, mitigated some of the attempted carnage.
With 19 runs needed to win off the last over, Brathwaite then cut loose in extraordinary fashion. The first ball by Stokes disappeared over the square leg boundary, neatly followed by a second six, then a third to bring the scores to a tie – and Brathwaite decided to finish things on the same note, scoring 24 from four deliveries.
Samuels made the highest score in a World T20 final, remaining 85 not out, while Brathwaite reached a lightning-fast 34 not out – from just 10 balls.
Historic win for West Indies women
Earlier, at the same ground, the West Indies women’s side won its first WT20 title, defeating defending champion Australia by eight wickets in a close-run race to the finish. Openers Hayley Mathews, who made 66 runs, and captain Stafanie Taylor, who made 59, carried their team to victory, with a cameo innings by Deandra Dottin at the end to finish things up.
For the Australians, captain Meg Lanning and opener Elyse Villani gave sterling performances, each scoring 52 runs.