Sri Lanka v West Indies, Final, World Twenty20, Colombo October 7, 2012

Samuels, Sammy give WI first world title since 1979


West Indies 137 for 6 (Samuels 78, Sammy 26*, Mendis 4-12) beat Sri Lanka 101 (Jayawardene 33, Kulasekara 26, Narine 3-9, Sammy 2-6) by 36 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Flair. Calypso. Frontrunners. Millionaires. Gold chains. Chris Gayle. No, no, no, no, no and no. West Indies' first World Twenty20 win was more digging in, refusing to give up, running and fielding like their life depended on this match, stunning the home crowd, and pulling off one of the most amazing turnarounds in Twenty20 history, especially given the stage. The due share of flair came from one of the most eye-pleasing batsmen going around. There's no need to add "one of the" here, because Marlon Samuels played simply the best Twenty20 international innings ever seen when West Indies were down and the count had reached about eight. A feedbacker to ESPNcricinfo's ball-by-ball commentary asked if Samuels' 78 was the 281 of Twenty20 cricket.

Samuels was not just shouting for help from the burning deck. He danced on that burning deck. He danced so well the burning deck became attractive. And Sri Lanka were singed. So singed that arguably the best Twenty20 bowler in the world went for 0 for 54. So singed that Ajantha Mendis' figures of 4 for 12 in the final meant nothing to the result. West Indies had been 14 for 2 after Powerplays and 32 for 2 after 10 overs, the fourth-worst and fifth-worst scores at these points in the history of Twenty20 internationals. They even took 17 balls to score their first run off the bat. Yet so breathtaking was Samuels' assault, never mind the wickets falling around him, that Sri Lanka were too stunned to respond.

It is also fair, in a way, that captain Darren Sammy contributed big to the win. That the man who has led the team through times when others had deserted it, despite obvious question marks over his skills, played a crucial role on the big night of a tournament that had threatened to make him almost superfluous ... When Samuels got out, West Indies were still 108 in the 18th over. They needed a strong finish to keep fighting. And fight Sammy did. He swung and ran like hell, turning three ones into twos in the last over, hitting two fours around those scrambles.

It was perhaps a little easy to carry on after Samuels had struck. Samuels struck when Malinga had come back to try to deliver the knockout blow. Samuels counterattacked sensationally. All Malinga had to do was miss his yorker by a few inches in the 13th over, and Samuels stunned him with three of the finest sixes: a flick over deep midwicket, a loft over long-on, and a beautiful drive over extra cover. Still only 69 for 2 after 13, but it helped West Indies show fight.

Jayawardene wanted to nip that fight in the bud. He brought back Ajantha, who responded with three wickets in his last two overs: Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard out of the way. Surely Jayawardene had snubbed it all out?

Not quite. In between those two overs, Samuels continued his assault, taking apart Jeevan Mendis. Then was the turn of the man widely acknowledged as the best bowler in Twenty20 cricket. After hitting Malinga for a four and a six, Samuels got a length ball, which he sent onto the roof of the stadium - the biggest six of the tournament at 108 metres.

Angelo Mathews said during the break that West Indies were still 15-20 short. Perhaps they were, but the momentum of that onslaught - 105 in last 10 - was huge. If Sri Lanka were not already in their shells, a superb first ball from Ravi Rampaul sent Tillakaratne Dilshan's off stump cartwheeling. His finger went to his lips. The crowd, though, had already been stunned into silence.

Two of Sri Lanka's greatest cricketers were now in the middle, but like the West Indies openers they were under pressure too. And would they have thought of three previous World Cup finals that they had lost? Jayawardene was too early into a sweep - a shot he plays better than anybody else in today's cricket - and nearly gave Samuels a wicket in his first over. Kumar Sangakkara kept hitting even poor deliveries straight to fielders. West Indies kept squeezing harder and harder.

Such is the pace of Twenty20 that suddenly Sri Lanka were 39 after eight overs, and while they had wickets in hand, they don't matter as much in T20 as they do in more traditional formats. Most importantly, Sunil Narine had shown in one over that he was going to turn the ball a long way. Sri Lanka were running out of time, and needed to target somebody.

Sangakkara targeted Samuel Badree, and even though he hit a four, he also deposited a long hop with deep midwicket. Sammy now put in another squeeze. Mathews was finding that he had spoken too early. Three dots later, he moved across and the stumps were laid prone. Sammy hit them with a slower ball. Now it began to drizzle. Sri Lanka were well behind D/L now, and Jayawardene had to take risks. Never really flowing in his effort, Jayawardene mistimed a reverse shot, and holed out to point.

After that Nuwan Kulasekara was just a minor irritant to celebrations the world had been waiting to watch. Gayle, who might have failed with just 3 off 16, was the man dancing the hardest with every falling wicket. He was also the first with his arm around Rampaul, who bowled an over late in the piece that was as ordinary as his first wicket was extraordinary.

After that 22-run over, Sri Lanka needed 44 from four overs, not unheard of in T20. Sammy, though, had kept the trump card back. On cue, Narine delivered Kulasekara's wicket. The birthday boy, Bravo, who had got a shocker from the umpire when he batted, was the man at the end of the two catches that finished the match.

The time had finally arrived to party, and West Indies partied as well as they had played.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Yasir on October 10, 2012, 19:09 GMT

    Cricket is not a game of 'if's and buts'..Its a game that is played on the ground.I dont understand why people call the other group as an easy group..It had England being a current Champion,SL as Hosts,NZ ok not so good and WI the current champions.Now people would argue that England are not good player of Spinners and they cant play on these Pitches.Well England won in WI and the pitches in WI are more or less the same.So that point is out of question.Also same Eng defeated Pak so badly in UAE.Now people would argue that Pak is not so good and ENG beating them is not a big thing.Pak was the team surviving the death group and advancing into the Semis be it by luck or whatever.So it means Pak is something.In the death group what did SA do?No#1 ranked team but a Complete flop show by their side.So both groups were more or less the same.Its just a coincidence that all the top teams went into one group

  • Susantha on October 10, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    @Harmony111; I said we entered into the semi final with ease means, it is due to performance. These teams are international teams & not just schhol teams. Second thing, since you make it difficult to beat Australia you think it as tougher grouo. For Pak & SL, this Australian team is not so tough. Group 1 is not so easy as you think. I think you feel it because Sri Lanka is there. Even you lost to NZ in India. Still are you going to say they are easy? I cant understand the rationale behind it. Pak make it as a habit to beat Australia. See their matches with Australia, in this WC & UAE. But your team make it as a habit to loose to Australia & give lots of excuses. This defeat simply reflect your inability to defeat Australia. For example in CB series. The bitter truth is, you couldn't get warner & Watson out early in this match. It cost the game for you. Don't blame on rain it self. If they got out, i feel you definitely bowled them all out & may in the final. Your team had that caliber

  • Richard on October 10, 2012, 16:07 GMT

    @ Meety - yeah , i'm with you on that one

  • Harmon on October 10, 2012, 13:40 GMT

    @colombo_SL: Firstly, you yourself admitted that SL made it to the Finals with ease. It has got everything to do with SL being in the easier group. Don't forget that SL were lucky to tie the match vs NZ as Baz had refused to take a single of the ricochet off Akhila else NZ would have won. Things would have been diff then. As for India, India lost only one match in the whole tournament and the margin was a bit too much that's why India could not reach the semis. Had it not rained then even if Aus had won that match India's NRR won't have been so bad. Moreover, India were in the Group of Death, 2 teams would have lost out. It turned out to be India and SA. SL were lucky to win vs NZ and had the hapless Eng as the other team. Finally, to put this back to you, I am sure you now see how ridiculous this whole argument is. I hope now you realize just how tough it is to win matches. Guess who made fun of India's WC 2011 win and #1 rank? Wasn't it SL fans? You want to say something to them now?

  • Andrew on October 10, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    @Venki_indian on (October 08 2012, 06:27 AM GMT) - "Losers have to accept the defeat" - accept of course when it involves rain hey? @A_Yorkshire_Lad on (October 10 2012, 10:21 AM GMT) - I'm there, just one thing, I REFUSE to drink WARM BEER!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • darius on October 10, 2012, 11:13 GMT

    spot on @Sinhaya we shud prepare green tops for domestic cricket to get used to the fast and bouncy pitches,as going with green tops against visiting teams may well backfire.that's what im talking about...

  • Richard on October 10, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    @ Meety - oh dear , I see that some joker has assumed you're one of us !! You must have really upset somebody ! Welcome aboard old chap , Tea and cucumber sandwiches ( with the crusts cut off ) is at 4 o'clock sharp and don't forget your bowler hat :)

  • Prashan on October 10, 2012, 8:58 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bully, I have to say that Indians are the best among the sub continent batsmen in tackling pace bowling. Stats of Tendulkar and Dravid clearly prove it. Laxman too is good but mainly against Aussies. Kohli also should get there but not my favorite Indian batsman Sehwag. But please dont forget that Sangakkara, Inzamam Ul Haq, Younis Khan and Thilan Samaraweera (after his SA tons last year) are also good players on bouncy pitches. We are fools to make our pitches bouncy when visiting teams come down. But we must prepare green tops for domestic matches so that we can get used to when we go away. Spin will always be the strength of Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan always though Pakistan will always produce great fast bowlers and spinners too. South Africa, England and Australia is all about pace bowling.

  • Prashan on October 10, 2012, 7:20 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bully, South Africans are great in test cricket and will be like that for a while. Did you know sir that South Africa last lost an away test series when they visited Sri Lanka in 2006 and when Sanga and Mahela posted a 624 run partnership? South Africa will come here for a full tour in July next year and looking forward to some exciting cricket. India had to settle for 1-1 when SA visited India in early 2010. I dont want to call SA as chokers as we are in the same boat like them in ICC events. If Sri Lanka and South Africa enter the next T20 world cup finals, then an amazing battle of the chokers. I respect South Africa for preparing spinning pitches like the Durban one which has helped us beat them in a test match there just like what India did.

  • Susantha on October 10, 2012, 6:56 GMT

    Oh, it is almost about 800 comments. Finally, i must say, due to Indian & Sri Lankan Teams, Due to Indian & Sri Lankan fans, this cricket world is quite interesting. I do feel they really love cricket. Cheers Indian & Sr Lankan brothers!

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