Inspired by a swashbuckling knock of 78 from Marlon Samuels at a crucial stage, West Indies rolled over Sri Lanka by 36 runs to lift the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 title in Sri Lanka yesterday.
Darren Sammy’s team silenced a partisan crowd of 30,000 at R Premadasa Stadium by first recovering from a very slow start to score 137 for six off 20 overs after having the luck of the toss in the highly anticipated final.
That total had seemed a long way off when they limped to 32 for two after ten overs, having reached 14 for one off six overs – the lowest score in the powerplay stage of the tournament.
Sri Lanka also found the going tough and collapsed from 51 for two in the 11th over to 101 all out in 18.4 overs, sparking wild celebrations and dancing among the West Indies players.
Ace off-spinner Sunil Narine snatched three wickets for nine runs off 3.4 overs, and medium-pacer Sammy picked up two for six off two overs.
It was the first time since 2004 when Brian Lara’s team captured the Champions Trophy in England that West Indies had won an international limited overs title.
The victory could not have been more telling after Samuels lifted West Indies’ spirits with his memorable 56-ball knock, which included six sixes – one of them carrying a series record 108 metres, along with three fours.
The dominance of Samuels’ innings was underlined by the fact that he tore into ace fast bowler Lasith Malinga, smashing him for 39 off his first three overs in a hapless return of none for 54 off four overs.
An ecstatic Sammy could not contain his feelings after the match.
“For the last two years we’ve shown the never-say-die attitude, but we haven’t had the results,” the West Indies captain said. “This moment we’re going to live forever. The team has been through a lot in the last two years, for the last ten years. The mission was to win the T20 World Cup, the belief we left the Caribbean with has pulled us through. Today we were down and out but our never-say-die attitude came out.
“Thank you to everyone who supported us. The tournament is for the fans. The love we felt from the Sri Lankan people is tremendous and we want to thank them for that. This hopefully will be the beginning of things to come. Hopefully this team will go on.”
Opting to play an unchanged side when it was generally felt that opener Johnson Charles should have been dropped for either Dwayne Smith or Lendl Simmons, West Indies lost an indecisive Charles in the fifth ball of the match when he lifted medium-pacer Angelo Mathews into the hands of mid-off before scoring.
The usually free-scoring Chris Gayle took nine balls to get off the mark as Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene skillfully changed his bowlers with a combination of spin and pace.
Left-hander Gayle, who had predicted a West Indies win after their ruthless 74-run victory over Australia in the semi-finals, made just three off 16 balls before off-spinner Ajantha Mendis had him leg before wicket with a straight ball.
Samuels and Dwayne Bravo then gradually consolidated as Bravo struck the first six of the match in the 12th over when he swung Akila Dananjaya over midwicket to move to 14 off 12 balls.
By then Samuels, who hit the first boundary of the match in the fourth over through extra-cover off fast-medium Nuwan Kulasekara, had moved to 24 off 35 balls.
In the over after Bravo hit the six, Samuels tore into Malinga, flicking for six over midwicket and then crashed the next ball over long-off for another six.
Samuels reached his fifty with a six off Jeevan Mendis. It came off 46 balls and contained five sixes and one four.
He and Bravo added 59 in 8.1 overs before Bravo was unfortunate to be given out leg before wicket for 19 by retiring Australian umpire Simon Taufel, in his last international match, to Ajantha Mendis. Television replays showed the ball came off the inside edge of the bat.
Kieron Pollard was caught at backward point on the second attempt by Dananjaya off Ajantha Mendis for two and Andre Russell was leg before wicket next ball as he essayed a sweep.
After Samuels was dismissed with the score on 108 off the first ball off the 18th over, Sammy, with an unbeaten 26 off 15 balls, helped to beef up the total.
Ajantha Mendis was the leading wicket-taker with four for 12 off four overs.
Sri Lanka suffered an early setback when fast bowler Ravi Rampaul ‘squared up’ Tillekaratne Dishan and bowled him off stump without scoring in the second over of the innings.
The vastly experienced pair of Jayawardene and left-hander Kumar Sangakkara took the score to 48 in the 10th over before the latter, who made 22, pulled a short ball from leg-spinner Samuels Badre to deep midwicket where Pollard took a well-judged low catch, diving forward on his knees.
From thereon it was struggle.
Mathews, coming too far inside his wicket, was bowled by a slower ball from Sammy and West Indies sustained the pressure with the scalp of Jayawardene, caught from a slog sweep by Sammy who was standing at point in the original position off Narine for the topscore of 33 off 36 balls with two boundaries.
As the pressure mounted, running between the wickets became indecisive and led to two run outs, one of them a direct throw from wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin who raced to short midwicket and despite a plea from bowler Samuels not to throw the ball, struck the stumps at the non-striker’s end to get rid of Thisara Perera as the sixth wicket to fall with the score 64 in the 14th over.
Kulasekera gave Seri Lanka a desperate late hope by lashing 26 off 13 balls with three fours and one six as 22 runs came off the 16trh over from Rampaul.
But after he was removed by Narine to a catch at long-off by Badree, virtually everyone knew that West Indies were just waiting to celebrate a most memorable win with dancing and prancing in true Caribbean style.
WEST INDIES VS SRI LANKA
J Charles c Kulasesekara b Mathews 0
CH Gayle lbw BAW Mendis 3
MN Samuels c BMAJ Mendis b Dananjaya 78
DJ Bravo lbw b BAW Mendis 19
KA Pollard c dananjaya b Mendis 2
AD Russell lbw b BAW Mendis 0
*DJG Sammy not out 26
+D. Ramdin not out 4
Extras (lb2, w3) 5
TOTAL (6 wks, 20 overs) 137
Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-14, 3-73, 4-87, 5-87, 6-108.
Did not bat: Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul, Samuel Badree.
Bowling: Mathews 4-1-11-1 (w1);, Kulasekara 3-0-22-0 (w1); Malinga 4-0-54-0; BAW Mendis 4-0-12-4 (w1); Dananjaya 3-0-16-1; BMAJ Mendis 2-0-20-0.
*DPMD Jayawardene c Sammy b Narine 33
TM Dilshan b Rampaul 0
+KC Sangakarra c Pollard b Badree 22
AD Mathews b Sammy 1
BMAJ Mendis run out (Bravo/Narine) 3
NLTC Perera run out (Ramdin) 3
HDRL Thirimanne c Charles b Sammy 4
KMDN Kulasekara c Badree b Narine 26
SL Malinga c Bravo b Narine 5
BAW Mendis c Bravo b Samuels 1
A Dananjaya not out 0
Extras (b2, nb1) 3
TOTAL (all out, 18.4 overs) 101
Fall of wickets: 1-6, 2-48, 3-51, 4-60, 5-61, 6-64, 7-69, 8-96, 9-100, 10-101.
Bowling: Badree 4-0-24-1; Rampaul 3-0-31-1 (nb1); Samuels 4-0-15-1; Gayle 2-0-14-0; Narine 3.4-0-9-3; Sammy 2-0-6-2.
Result: West Indies won by 36 runs.
Toss: West Indies
Series: West Indies won the 2012/13 ICC Word Twenty20
Player of the Match: MN Samuels (West Inides)
Player of the Series: SR Watson (Australia)
Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan), SJA Taufel (Australia)
TV umpire: RJ Tucker (Australia)
Match referee: JJ Crowe (New Zealand)
Reserve umpire: IJ Gould (England)