West Indies vs England - Caribbeans All the Way
I have had an incredible time shooting the T20 World Cup for the last few weeks as I travelled the length and breadth of the country following Team India until their semis against West Indies in Mumbai. I really enjoyed the atmosphere at all the stadiums with the passionate crowd cheering for India, electrifying noise and being so close to all the action capturing some stunning images & memories from India's campaign. The downside was probably constant travelling, security, early morning flights and lugging my heavy camera equipment everywhere, but it was all worth it. The only thing which hurt a bit was not to see India in the grand finals at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Something I had really hoped for after they beat Australia in the knockout game in Mohali, but I guess West Indies probably deserved more to be in finals than India because they had played like an unit with all their players stepping up at different times to help the team crossline whereas India was all dependent on Virat Kohli's performances in key games. Now my last assignment was in Eden Garden for the second time covering the mega finals between the spirited West Indies and valiant English who had played uncharacteristically attacking cricket making their way to the finals.
The two deserving teams who had fought hard throughout the tournament were facing each other in the finals to win the title for the second time which no team has ever achieved before. Eden Gardens was packed and most of the crowd were rooting for West Indies for their entertaining brand of cricket.
West Indies won the toss and put England to bat first on a sweet batting track at Eden Gardens with West Indies prefering to chase with their explosive batting line-up. A score of 175 plus was expected on this pitch but England openers who have been in such terrific forms throughout the tournament were dismissed in successive overs with Badree and Russell removing the openers cheaply.
Joe Root, the most talented & dependable English batsman came to their rescue to steady England's scoreboard. He picked gaps well and put bad balls away regularly to score 36 ball 54.
Joe Root and Jos Buttler had a decent partnership and steadied England's innings. Buttler was going great with his explosive batting before he was dismissed by Brathwaite which hurt England's innings as all other batsmen failed to build an innings and push the run-rate on a great batting wicket.
Bravo celebrates dismissing the dangerous Ben Stokes. Most of the English batsmen lost the plot on a great batting pitch without applying themselves. Roy, Hales, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, Ali were all dismissed pretty cheaply. England ended up with a total of 155/9 in 20 overs which was a below par score considering West Indies explosive batting line-up on a nice batting wicket.
Gayle was expected to dominate the English bowlers like how he had done in the earlier clash but he fell for the part timer Joe Root's off-spin bowling, Joe had also dismissed Johnson Charles earlier in the same over. Morgan was doing Dhoni here with West Indies reeling at 10/2 in 2 overs.
It seemed like West Indies weren't interested in building partnership and play according to the situation, as they too kept faltering against disciplined English bowling. England kept chipping at wickets with Charles, Gayle, Simmons, Russel and Sammy getting out cheaply playing false shots. Their only hope was Marlon Samuels who was playing out of his skin to keep West Indies in the hunt with a brief partnership with DJ Bravo.
Sammy falls cheaply to Willey and Willey brings out his dance antics!
England had done everything right until then with all their bowlers bowling according to a plan and not allowing West Indies batsmen to dominate from the start. Personally, the match wasn't that interesting for a final, as there were no real tense moments or fight between the teams. England faltered against ordinary West Indies bowling on a great batting pitch except Badree who's been sensational in this tournament. Chasing a below par total, West Indies too faltered against English seam attack and it seemed all over for West Indies. Byy the end of 19th over, they had a herculean task of getting 19 runs off 6 balls with Marlon Samuels and Craig Brathwaite on strike!
West Indies pushed to the corner had to unleash their power hitting to win the game and England had to continue all the good work they had done until then to win the finals.
It was still England's game very much but what unfolded later would probably haunt the English side forever, as 20th over came live with Craig Brathwaite brutal hitting against Ben Stokes.
Now, who would have thought or even imagined such a wild possibility when it all looked over for West Indies, Brathwaite demolishes Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes in the last over by comfortably scoring 24 runs off 4 balls to win the second T20 World Cup title for West Indies. Even Marlon Samules who was batting at 85 off 66 balls couldn't have probably done what Brathwaite did to Stokes.
Craig Brathwaite is absolutely pumped and lets a roar out! Not often do you see such brutal hitting against a bowler. Even his mis-timed shots sailed many rows back which left England stunned, absolutely stunned!
Eoin Morgan is stunned after his side's loss against West Indies. Nothing he could have done to stop it!
Eden Gardens erupts after West Indies win. Majority of the crowd wanted to see West Indies win against the English side.
What a stunning comeback! Pushed to the corner, West Indies had to play their brand of cricket to win and they did it in such style.
Spare a thought for this man! Ben Stokes will come out as a strong man after this just like Stuart Broad, after what Yuvraj did to him.
The ecstatic West Indies team after becoming the only team to have won the T20 World Cup for the second time.
Earlier in the day, West Indies women had beaten Aussie Women in finals to become the Women's T20 World Champions. What a dream run the Carribean side have had this year? They won Under 19 Men's World Cup, Women's T20 World Cup and Men's T20 World Cup. Hope the Carribean nation becomes what it used to be in the past.
As we all know how popular DJ Bravo's Champion song has become. It was time they celebrated and danced the Caribbean way and they didn't miss the opportunity.
I am sure the West Indies partied hard and didn't stop dancing all night. The scenes were pretty crazy out there but they totally deserved it for their never give up attitude and performing against all odds. They stuck together to make Caribbean a great cricketing nation once again.