The first hour and half belonged to the host England, who looked firm favourites to win their maiden World Cup in 1979. Four quick strikes and the champion team was on the back foot. Thirty-three years hence, seventeen deliveries out of a legitimate 120 deliveries did not produce a run off their bat. Luckily, these things proved to be minor consolation for the opponents who did not realize when the game had slipped from their hands in the whip of their eyelashes.
In 1979, just when England realized that they had an upper hand, a certain Collis King’s foray cut-short their joy. A quick fire 86 from King had made captain Mike Brearley scratch his head. Vivian Richards surprisingly played a sheet anchor role in the partnership with King. Later, after King’s dismissal, Richards took the English attack apart and the quick fall of four wickets before lunch time was a thing of the past.
This was a cricketing legend which still gives West Indies fans goosebumps. No member of the current West Indian team was born when West Indies scripted an incredible heist in the final of Cricket World Cup at Lords, in 1979.
In the 2012 T20 World Cup final, the West Indies looked absolutely out of the game in the first 12 overs. A score of 48 was too less. Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene, like Brearley, looked to have things under the control. After all, Sri Lanka knew much more about their home conditions, much like what Brearley did back then.
Lasith Malinga’s toe-crushers have given the batsman around the world a headache. It is his wide range of deliveries that makes Malinga a very special bowler. Marlon Samuels decided to attack the game’s greatest bowler on the night of the final. Whatever Malinga did, Samuels made him finish the second best. The toe-crusher missed the mark, and bang, a six over square leg. The full and wide delivery was deposited over covers. A slower ball, intended to confuse Samuels, travelled a distance of 108 meters and hit the roof. A total of five sixes were hit off his bowling. This was surreal. Malinga looked out of ideas.
Samuels had resurrected West Indies to such an extent that the talks of them not reaching a three figure mark was nipped in the bud. Samuels himself was on the verge of reaching a three-figure score. But, sometimes it takes only a single mistake to end a wonderful innings. Samuels had been special in his 56-ball epic knock. He got out on a delivery which on any other day would have gone over the ropes. Seventy eight precious runs would probably go down in the annals of West Indian history as the most precious if there would be any chapter devoted to the renaissance in West Indian cricket.
Samuels was proud of his achievements, but said: “Test Cricket is real cricket.” He has a vision. Winning the T20 world cup – check! Now, bigger things remain to be conquered. “Five centuries this season” – that is his next big aim.
If Samuels plays the way he played on the night of the final, he will make his teammates and fans all over the world dance in the Gangnam Style way more often.