The 2016 ICC World Twenty20 has been a brilliantly entertaining tournament.
South Africa found a new way to push their fans closer to suicide. Sri Lanka proved that they are nothing without Sangakkara and Malinga. Pakistan proved that Afridi is a timeless, yet clueless captain. And Australia seemed to genuinely forget that they needed a decent spinner to win in India.
Afghanistan continue to be a nuisance to the ICC, trying to win matches and force their way into future tournaments, while Bangladesh showed they know their place by trying hard but ultimately letting the big teams beat them.
New Zealand entertained us all by just doing the opposite of what anyone expected and Virat Kohli showed that apart from him, the rest of the Indian team is incredibly average.
Down to the two teams still standing then, and a fascinating final ahead between England and West Indies.
As pundits from around the world grapple with a variety of words to ultimately tell you ‘that anything can happen’, I stared into my crystal ball and saw the whole thing play out.
This is what I saw:
In front of a packed Eden Gardens crowd, the two captains walk to the middle for the toss. The atmosphere is electric.
Ravi Shastri is there waiting for them pitch side. It’s the WT20 final at Eden Gardens, so nobody really questions what’s going on and why Shastri has the microphone.
Cameras on him, Shastri gets the crowd going by asking; “KOLKATA, ARE YOU READY!!!”
The crowd goes mad. Shastri keeps going…
“EDEN GARDENS, ARE YOU READY!!!” Crowd continues to roar. He’s not done there though, Shastri widens his stance, takes a deep breath… “THE WORLD, ARE YOU READY!!!!”
Finally it comes to the toss, the crucial part of proceedings, with both captains eager to win and bowl first to avoid the evening dew. Giles Clark suddenly appears and flings the coin, Eoin Morgan shouts heads, the coin hits the floor and before coming to rest, in swoops Clark grabbing the coin and shouting ‘It’s a head!’
Darren Sammy looks totally bemused but Shastri goes straight in to ask what Morgan wants to do. “We’ll have a bowl first”, he says and the crowd cheers. As he then runs through his team for the final, Sammy demands to see the coin but Clark refuses to show him and the two get into a scuffle.
The two are eventually separated, with Clark grabbing the microphone stating that an ICC official may not be attacked like that, and therefore the West Indies will start the innings on -30 runs.
Anthems done and dusted, Chris Gayle and Johnson Charles stride to the crease. David Willey at the top of his mark looking nervous, and for good reasons too. Chris Gayle decides to take the first ball, with eyes like fire, he focuses on the bowler.
The crowd erupts as Gayle sends the first ball out of the ground.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
The next four balls all sail over the ropes, its Yuvraj vs Broad all over again. Willey in again to finish the over, Gayle winds up and… nudges it for a single to the sweeper boundary. He dances his way to the other end to retain the strike, offering a salute to Giles Clark in the VIP suite.
West Indies 31/0 after the first over.
The power play is a complete and utter bloodbath for England, Gayle sends the ball to all parts of the ground. He is so in the zone, he starts picking celebrities out in the crowd and sees if they can catch.
Preity Zinta takes a blinder while taking a selfie, Piers Morgan catches one while sitting on Kevin Pietersen’s lap, but then Sachin Tendulkar drops a sitter. The crowd is stunned as the Little Master lets them down.
The very next ball though Gayle gives him a chance to redeem himself, lofting another Moeen Ali ball straight to him. Sachin makes no mistake this time, he catches it with both hands, and the crowd goes wild!
West Indies 242 for no loss after 10 overs, Chris Gayle retires ‘bored’ on 239 and makes his way into the crowd where he finds Shane Warne and three young blondes. In form Lendl Simmons replaces him but somehow gets a first baller. Bowled by Stokes!
Stokes then combines with Jordan much like in the semis, and wickets start to fall from both ends. The crowd is stunned as Windies batsmen come in and out.
With storm clouds developing, the Windies find themselves at 251/7 in the 15th over. Having bowled Stokes and Jordan out to get his team back into the match, Morgan then has a bowl himself!
Knowing this is their chance to finish strong, the Windies tail tries to cash in but succeed in just finding the fielders. Braithwaite then holes out on the fence, and Badree is clean bowled. Morgan is on fire!
251/9, Gayle gets up from his seat, looks at the scoreboard, then calls Sulieman Benn in for T20's first declaration.
Windies 251/9 declared, rain starts to fall over Eden Gardens.
It persists for about an hour, finally breaking and with it, the officials announced that England will be set a revised target of 192 off 16 overs according to the Duckworth-Lewis-Clark method.
The West Indies contest this, questioning when the Duckworth-Lewis method had become the Duckworth-Lewis-Clark method, but their protests are met with further penalties, and it is decided that England shall start their innings at 30/0.
Needing just over 10 an over to win then, England make a cautious start. The rain interval and dew factor start to play a role though, and the Windies start to lose their shape.
Sanjay Manjrekar makes his way onto the outfield, and the moisture completely ruins a new pair of cowboy boots. Badree battles to grip the ball and the English play him with ease to reach 73/0 after 8 overs.
90 needed off 8 overs, they continue to roll on to victory, staying with the required rate.
Both Hales and Roy fall, but Buttler joins Root at the crease to take them home. 17 needed off two overs, Buttler smashes an almighty 6 off Benn, right out of the ground and a new ball is called for.
Benn has a rummage through the box, grabbing the driest and oldest ball he can find. He returns to Buttler, dot ball. And another, and another and another.
11 needed off 7, sensing Buttler is feeling the pressure, the field comes in. Benn flights one around off stump and Buttler smashes it straight to mid off! Huge wicket and 11 off 6 needed.
In comes Eoin Morgan, but Joe Root is on strike. Chris Gayle takes the ball for the final over. Warne and the blondes cheer the call, this is the big man’s moment to finish what he started earlier.
Four! Four! Root swats Gayle away.
England suddenly within a single strike of winning the tournament, Root catches a sweep shot out of the toe and just gets a single.
Two to win, captain Morgan on strike. He has 3 balls left, the field comes in.
First ball – dot.
Second ball – dot.
The crowd is hushed as Gayle beats the bat of Morgan.
2 to win off the last ball, 1 run for the super over. Chris Gayle stands with ball in hand. Shane Warne then appears on the big screen, covered in even more blondes now. He signals to Gayle to bowl a ‘leggie.’
Being an off spinner, Gayle laughs but acknowledges his gesture. He alters his run up, Morgan sets himself for the final ball, Gayle releases his ‘leggy’, it pitches outside off, and absolutely rips through Morgan – CLEAN BOWLED!
West Indies win!!!
The crowd roars, Morgan can’t believe it. Root really can’t believe. Giles Clark refuses to believe it!
The shock of the English is then beautifully contrasted by the delight of the Windies, they come together and dance on the wicket, and are quickly surrounded by photographers as fireworks go off around the boundary.
That’s the outcome then. Place your bets.
(This very serious article is meant to be taken with generous doses of salt)
First Published On : Apr 3, 2016 15:12 IST