Sunday, October 7, 2012

T20 World Cup

West Indies won it. As a West Indian fan, I have to say it had to have been the most intense, nail-biting, worrisome final I've ever seen them in. From the get-go Sri Lanka was looking to be the better team. Hell it took them 17 balls just to score the first runs off the bat. And then things changed when Marlon Samuels entered the Picture.
Now I won't lie, being a WI fan for so long, I have my doubts about Samuels. He's been a mediocre player at the ODI level and wasn't really outstanding until he started playing with the T20 team. Even then he was only middling, but then things changed rapidly in the Semis and Marlon took it onto himself to finally explode into glory instead of end up as another failure to launch.
So as the WI (most particularly Marlon) looted 54 runs off one of the best fast-bowlers in world cricket today (Lasith Malinga), the tempo changed. WI closed at 138, not a HUGE score by any means and SL was in a mood to let us know that it wasn't over yet. The boys in maroon weren't done yet though.
Coming out to bowl, Dilshan and Jayawardena were a force to behold. In the Super 8's, they demoralized the WI bowlers chasing a similar total. SL would have thought they had this game in the pocket. Then Ravi Rampaul did the unthinkable.
Rampaul is another WI player I have no love for. He's not very consistent and his wide-outside-off-stump line annoys me because it makes it so easy for the higher order batsmen to pick him at will. But every once in a while when Ravi fires, he fires well.
In his first over, Ravi bowled a beautiful, nigh-unplayable delivery to remove Dilshan's stump and send him back to the dugout. WI had their first scalp but it was FAR from over. As Dilshan walked back forlorn and defeated, the captain Sangakkara was looking poised and calm, ready to take the fight to the WI.
A steady partnership built between these two, Sangakkara and Jayawardena. They are friends off the field and peers on the field and despite the one or two chances they held out to the opposition, they never really felt threatened. Then while going for a big strike off Narine (a REALLY bad decision) Sammy had Jayawardena caught in the deep.
Sangakkara followed suit not soon after, trying to accelrate the scoring, and SL never recovered. There was a small flash of brilliance towards the end from Kulasekara, but it was far too little, far too late. Rampaul got the brunt of this assault, going for 21 in one over and totally losing his rhythm. Still as the final wicket fell, a simple catch to birthday-boy Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies fans both at home and abroad (along with the the majority of the Indian fans) erupted with delight. The West Indies had won their first world cup victory in International Cricket in thirty-three years. We have finally turned the corner.

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