West Indies chime: The spring is finally back
Darren Sammy's West Indies were crowned the new World Twenty20 champions on Sunday after a 36-run victory over hosts Sri Lanka in a dramatic final. Sanjjeev K Samyal reports. Scorecard | The short, sweet and the not so sexy... | New champsindia Updated: Oct 08, 2012 11:15 IST
When the player supposed to lead the way scores just three off 16 balls, you expect only one winner - the opposition. Sri Lanka would have liked to believe that after they made Chris Gayle hop like a cat on a hot tin roof at the start of the World Twenty20 final on Sunday.
But powered by fellow Jamaican Marlon Samuels, the Calypso kings roared back to eventually break Sri Lankan hearts and prove that a challenging start doesn't mean one simply gives up hope.
To the delight of their fans back home, for once Darren Sammy's army walked the talk and showed that the team had more to it than Gayle, going on to lift the trophy with a 36-run win over the hosts at the Premadasa stadium.
The game was made all the more entertaining by the antics of the West Indies players.
To add to their gangnam dance celebrations, they came up with a special sequence for Samuels, everyone celebrating his wicket by dusting his clothes to the amusement of the worldwide audience.
Samuels, wearing a yellow lucky strip, was the star of the show. He hit his side out of trouble with a counterattacking 56-ball 78 to lead a stunning turnaround from 32 for two after 10 overs, helping the Caribbean side finish on 137 for six in 20 overs.
Although the total still looked inadequate, it gave hope to West Indies. In the end, their determination paid off as Sri Lanka shockingly collapsed for 101.
The saddest man in the stadium would be Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It's just a coincidence but each time he's been to the final, his team has lost.
No sooner had he taken his seat, the Sri Lankans started losing the plot.
The 42-run partnership between Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara was broken and it triggered a collapse from which the hosts never recovered.
It was the fourth time Sri Lanka lost a World Cup final, going back to 2007, putting a question mark on their big match temperament.
Sri Lanka bowlers had started brilliantly, bowling a very tight line. They gave no width at all to Gayle, built the pressure by cramming him for space and got their man in the sixth over.
The opener had three leg-before appeals against him, and on the third he was out.
It was just the start the hosts had dreamt of and the one West Indies would have dreaded. It looked all over for the Caribbeans when Ajantha Mendis produced another of his magical spells, finishing with 4-0-12-4.
But Samuels was unfazed even as wickets tumbled around him. He held the innings together and but for his effort, which included six sixes, WI wouldn't have been in the contest at the break.
It was a day when the two big stars of both the teams didn't turn up. If Gayle failed, Sri Lanka's main strike bowler Lasith Malinga got hammered, conceding 54 runs in four overs.