The West Indies have conquered the world, and have a dance to prove it. Columbo shall tonight be emptied of it’s rum, the town painted maroon by visiting Carribeans whilst their hosts will be wondering quite what went wrong.
The game itself was not a classic; few in this tournament have been. While the West Indies brutally obliterated the Australians in the semi-final, this was a display of grittier ilk. Instead of “Power Hour”, the opening ten overs saw the scores at 32-2 (Dour Hour?). After Chris Gayle (who it must be said is one of a handful of players worldwide who can make one take T20 seriously) fell for few, and his opening gambit Johnson Charles sunk for cypher, the thrash and biff tactic the West Indies have adopted was less plausible and it was left to Marlon Samuels to initially nurdle and consolidate. If the West Indies can develop as a team in the way that Samuels has developed as an individual, then more success will surely follow. After a late assault he had thumped 78 from 56 balls to guide the West Indies to 137, a score which looked slightly below par but was at least defendable.
In actual fact, Samuels had played the pitch and situation perfectly. The West Indies managed to defy stereotype and bogged Sri Lanka down in spin and the ‘rolled r’ (rrr-required run-rate) became less manageable for Sri Lanka the longer the chase went on. Allied by a fine fielding performance (another thing one wouldn’t have been closely associated with the West Indies until recently), the Lankan quest for success on their own patch always looked in vain.
What can be taken from this tournament? Well, the last time around in the Carribean England won it, and they’ve done nothing much since and probably weren’t even the best team in the world then. It felt then that it was something of a lottery, and although England played well the main advantage they seemed to hold was momentum rather than dominance. Has the game moved on since then? God knows, though the West Indies, and Marlon Samuels, certainly have.