Kolkata: In a final full of counter-punches, where no one was willing to take a step backwards, the West Indies had the Eden Gardens play host to a Caribbean carnival yesterday as both, the men’s and women’s team walked away with top honours.
West Indies players celebrate after dismissal of England batsman Ben Stokes. Pic/ PTI
Chasing 156, and requiring 19 off the final over, Darren Sammy and his men went over the line with two balls to spare. Carlos Brathwaite wrote the finishing lines of an intriguing contest with four sixes in succession off Ben Strokes.
Marlon Samuels, whose 66-ball 85 was beginning to look an effort in vain, got to watch the amazing onslaught from the other end. Brathwaite remained unbeaten on a 10-ball 34.
Both teams were pegged back by the loss of early wickets. If England were reeling at 23 for 3 in the fifth over, the West Indies found themselves tottering at 11 for three in the third over after the break. Among those back in the pavilion were semi-final hero Lendl Simmons and one Chris Gayle, who was caught in the country as he tried to send occasional off-spinner Joe Root to the terraces.
Both teams counter-punched, making for an intriguing finale to the month-long tournament. The Caribbeans initially found their men in Samuels and Dwayne Bravo, who added 75 runs for the fourth wicket in 69 balls. There was a scare when Samuels tickled one from Liam Plunket to the wicketkeeper but replays brought relief as they revealed that the ball had come into Buttler’s gloves off the turf. Bravo topped-edged leg-spinner Adil Rashid for a 27-ball 25.
Andre Russell and skipper Darren Sammy left soon after and the chase seemed to flounder, till Brathwaite, who is set to come back to the Eden with Delhi Daredevils in week’s time, changed the script.
It had all began in dramatic fashion with leg-spinner Samuel Badree slipping one through the defences of form-man Jason Roy in the second ball of the match. Andre Russell removed Alex Hales in the next over and Badree, bowling his four overs on the trot, caught left-hander Eoin Morgan’s outer-edge with a wrong-un and Gayle made no mistake at slips.
England found their men in Root and wicketkeeper Jos Buttler. The two added 61 off 40 deliveries in a rollicking fourth-wicket partnership before Buttler fell for a 22-ball 36 that had a boundary and three sixes.
The West Indians then took three wickets in the space of three balls, including that of Root (54 off 36 with 7 fours), to have their opponents reduced to 111 for seven in the 15th but the England fightback continued.
Number nine David Willey used the long handle to hit a couple of sixes and a boundary to snatch 21 from 14 deliveries to help his team post a challenging total.