World Twenty20 Cricket: Marlon Samuels the star as the Windies win
MARLON Samuels inspired a West Indies fightback from the brink to deny Sri Lanka a home win and seize the ICC World Twenty20 title.
Samuels’ memorable 78 revived the Windies, after it appeared they had fluffed their lines terminally, on the way to an improbable 36-run victory at the Premadasa Stadium.
Samuels’ 56-ball innings contained six sixes and three fours on a fair pitch, and how the West Indies needed him after an embarrassing false start to their innings in which master blaster Chris Gayle could make only three runs from 16 balls.
Even after Samuels had transformed proceedings, it seemed the West Indies had almost certainly fallen short of a winning score with their 137 for six.
But it was to be Sri Lanka who froze as what appeared a near routine chase featured a mid-innings collapse of six wickets for 21 runs to be all out for 101 in the 19th over, handing the Windies only their second ICC global trophy since the 1979 World Cup.
But the match had started ominously badly for them, their famed big-hitters invisible in the first half of their innings as initial caution went to extremes – and Ajantha Mendis (four for 12) took most advantage.
Around 40 was probably par in powerplay. But after Johnson Charles went for a duck to the fifth ball of the first over and Gayle took nine balls to get off the mark, with a scampered single to mid-off – and was eventually lbw pushing forward to Ajantha – the Windies could muster only 14 for two in their first six overs.
It was not until the 12th over that birthday boy Dwayne Bravo added a first six to go with a solitary four from Samuels. The latter then clubbed consecutive sixes off the returning Lasith Malinga, and then a third in the over, beyond long-on. The 13th over therefore cost 21 runs.
Bravo was out lbw, pushing forward to Ajantha to end a third-wicket stand of 59, yet when Samuels brought up his 50 with his fourth six, over long-on off Jeevan, West Indies were at last striking to their potential.
It seemed too much had been left too late, though, an impression underlined after Ajantha put himself on a hat-trick – Kieron Pollard cutting, and well-held at backward point, and Andre Russell lbw sweeping.
Samuels was eventually sixth out, caught in the leg-side deep off Dananjaya, but captain Darren Sammy gave his team a late lift by taking 16 off Kulasekera’s final over.
That feelgood factor continued for the Windies when Ravi Rampaul produced an excellent first delivery, knocking out Tillekeratne Dilshan’s off-stump to see him off for a duck.
Home captain Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara then shared a second-wicket stand of 42, but when Sangakkara picked out deep midwicket with a pull at Samuel Badree, a serious Sri Lanka wobble kicked in. Mathews was bowled round his legs, trying to sweep Sammy, before the lynchpin himself, Jayawardene, reverse-swept Sunil Narine into Sammy’s hands.
The collapse then went into overdrive as Jeevan and then Thisara Perera were both haplessly run-out. A shell-shocked home crowd of 35,000 capacity had assembled to cheer Sri Lanka all the way to their first “World Cup” success since 1996.
Instead, they witnessed the unlikeliest of denouements as West Indies got their hands on some silverware to add at last to the Champions Trophy of 2004.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West