West Indies began as the favorites, and went on win the match. Mauling England never looked difficult for whatever was dished out to the men from the Caribbean islands, and they devoured the English like men with a gargantuan appetite. Sammy’s men dominated England, until Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales gave a glimmer of hope to Chris Broad’s side. However, in the end, an all round performance gave West Indies a fifteen-run victory. As the race for the semis have begun, it is not the moments, but the players who have started dominating matches and their results. Here are a few names who stole the limelight:
There is no such thing as a good ball or a bad ball which can dislodge the giant Chris Gayle. The only way to get him out is to try, try and try till Gayle gives his wicket away, or hope that one shot is hit with a little less power and is caught near the boundary. Continuing from his blistering knock at Pallekelle, he clobbered England’s bowling, scoring 58 off 35 balls. He now has the highest number of fifties in T20 internationals to his name, a record that he shares with Brendon McCullum. The peculiarity of his batting is his reluctance to run singles and doubles. Against England, he scored 48 runs from boundaries, with six fours and four sixes. He tore into the English bowling, giving Charles enough time to settle down so that the latter could take over when Gayle left the wicket in the eleventh over. This was not the end of his contribution however. He came out to the field, took the catch of dangerous Luke Wright, bowled Jonny Baristow and danced every time in utter ecstasy as if celebrating in advance the triumph over the defending champions.
Initially he appeared to be impeding Gayle’s progress by not rotating the strike. But he began to score briskly in the ninth over and continued till the eighteenth to reach his highest T20 score of 84 at an overwhelming strike rate of 150.00. His wagon wheel included shots to every part of the ground barring the fine leg area, and his lofty fours and sixes took West Indies to a strong total of 179 runs. He began his innings under the shadow of Gayle only to end it with a lion’s share in the target sum. Both he and Gayle put up a hundred run stand.
STUART BROAD AND STEVEN FINN
No matter which style of bowling the pitch favours, England’s strength lies in its pace bowling, and unsurprisingly it was again the combination of Finn and Broad who bowled effectively for Broad’s side. After receiving a lot of criticism for not playing two spinners, Broad included Samit Patel along with Graeme Swann, but to no avail. Finn and Broad both bowled with variation in line and pace, and gave just 26 runs in their four overs apiece. Broad knocked down Marlon Samules on two and his counterpart Darren Sammy on 4, while Finn nailed Kieron Pollard on 1. But unfortunately the twain alone could not abate the onslaught and stop the West Indies from posting a winning target.
EOIN MORGAN AND ALEX HALES
Gayle and Charles had put up an opening century stand at the run rate of 9.36, but Morgan and Hales did the same for their fourth wicket stand but at the higher run rate of 11.06. Eoin Morgan played a splendid innings of 71 runs off just 36 balls, which included five massive sixes. It was he who picked up and played Rampaul and the rest of the West Indies bowlers well, taking Hales in his company and thus accelerating the scoring rate. Hales scored 68 runs off 51 balls, but despite an astounding show their efforts fell short as England’s top order failed miserably, including two wickets which fell in the first over of the innings.
All eyes were on Sammy’s “trump card” Sunil Narine, but at Pallekele it were the pacers who called the shots. Ravi Rampaul jolted the English batting by striking twice in his first over in successive deliveries, making the task of overhauling the target very difficult. Short and outside off stump deliveries did the trick in eliminating the potential threat from the opponents.