West Indies cricket is back in business. In a tense T20 World Cup Final on Sunday, the West Indies men’s team defeated a scrappy England side by four wickets with two balls remaining on an over for the ages by 27-year-old right hand batsman Carlos Brathwaite, who hammered not one, not two, not three, but four massive sixes on the first four balls he saw from Ben Stokes.
After holding England to 155 for nine wickets, after winning the toss and inserting their cricket rivals to bat, West Indies themselves struggled to start the chase. When it came down to the final over, the team from the Caribbean needed a daunting 19 runs off the six balls to join their women’s team as the second T20 World Cup champions of the day.
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But Brathwaite proceeded to take West Indies home and take the T20 Cricket World Cup trophy back to the Caribbean Islands with four straight sixes; and, also sending England home shattered after watching the championship slip away, barely one year after suffering humiliation in the 2015 ICC 50-overs Cricket World Cup when they failed even to qualify for the knockout stage.
Watch highlights of the memorable 2016 T20 Cricket World Cup Final from the iconic Eden Gardens cricket grounds in Kolkata, Bengali, India on Sunday, April 3 in the video below.
With the win, West Indies becomes the first team to win the T20 Cricket World Cup twice. Had England won, they would have claimed that honor as well.
Watch highlights of the West Indies women’s cricket eight-wicket win over Australia to claim the women’s T20 World Cup, in the video below.
The West Indies, who dominated international cricket in the 1970s and 1980s, had fallen on hard times recently; but with the World Cup win, the West Indies women defeating Australia to win their first T20 World Cup earlier the same day — and the West Indies Under 19 squad taking the U19 World Cup in February — West Indies appears to be on the verge of a resurgence.
But can they turn their sudden, renewed success in 2016 into a new era of long-term dominance once again?
Coming into the tournament, the West Indies players endured a bitter pay dispute with the notoriously stingy West Indies Cricket Board. And then adding insult to injury, just before the tournament former England player and now television commentator Mark Nicholas described the West Indies team as “short of brains,” a comment that deeply offended West Indies Captain Darren Sammy.
“To see Carlos step up in his debut World Cup shows the depth we have in T20 and we hope we can continue our development in One Day and Test cricket. We have been on a journey. We felt disrespected by the board. Mark Nicholas described our team as a team with no brains,” Sammy said after the Final match. “All these things brought this team together.”
West Indies spinner Samuel Badree bowled England opener Jason Roy on the second ball of the match, and then Badree also caught Alex Hales in the second over off a delivery from Andre Russell. Wickets continued to fall for England, but with 54 from Joe Root and 36 from Jos Buttler, England managed to scrape their way to a respectable total of 155 despite losing nine.
But it wasn’t enough.
“We put ourselves in a position to win the game but today wasn’t our day. We didn’t have enough runs on the board,” England Captain Eoin Morgan said.
“On a really decent batting surface we should have put 180 to 190 on the board. For the bowlers to get us to the stage we were at going into the 20th over was brilliant. I’m so proud of everybody in the squad. This is only the start of something special, we’re building, we’re looking to the future,” Morgan said after the match.
England got off to a promising start with the ball, when Morgan brought in Root as a surprise bowler for the second over. The stratagem paid huge dividends, as Root first induced Johnson Charles to pop a lazy ball in the air to Stokes and then worked the same feat on the fearsome Chris Gayle, who departed with just five runs on his ledger after slamming a century against England in their group stage game two weeks ago.
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But in the end, none of England’s efforts could stop Brathwaite, or Man of the Match Marlon Samuels whose 85 not out led all scorers, and West Indies will now take their third cricket World Cup trophy of the year back to the sunny Caribbean.
[Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images]