No. 43

West Indies win the Champions Trophy

In the creeping dark, a miracle spreads radiance

Vaneisa Baksh

October 4, 2009

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Ian Bradshaw and Courtney Browne bask in the glory of a Champions Trophy win, The Oval, September 25, 2004
Spring arrives on a bleak day © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Ian Bradshaw | Courtney Browne
Series/Tournaments: ICC Champions Trophy
Teams: West Indies
Other links: 50 Magic Moments

London, 25 September 2004

Victories had become so rare that even when the West Indies team made it to the final of the Champions Trophy in 2004, coming up against England at The Oval on a gloomy September day, hope, springing eternal, did not really blossom.

England planted the seeds, surrendering for 217 in 49.4, but then threw cold water rather than fertiliser on West Indies. Wickets were falling so fast that by the time Brian Lara went, it was 72 for 4 in the 17th over. I couldn't sit still as they continued falling, so that by the time Shivnarine Chanderpaul went with the score on 147 for 8, I had sat on every chair in my living room, and felt the calm of resignation.

From the floor I watched Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw settling in doggedly, reminding me that they had both been Barbados captains, and were disciplined, patient batsmen. As they got to the 50-partnership, hope began sprouting audaciously; but in that awful gloom, with what little light there was fading so fast, one mistake would be all England needed.

Like a plant groping towards the light, they inched past 200, and I swear I had stopped breathing. Bradshaw's four to take them within five left me whooping and the four that ended the match made me hoarse. A West Indies harvest had finally come. At the bleak Oval, it felt like a determined tendril had burst into the light, and suddenly it was spring.

Vaneisa Baksh is a freelance journalist based in Trinidad
This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine

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Vaneisa Baksh Vaneisa Baksh has been studying West Indies cricket's history for ages, and has been writing on the game for even longer. She has been admitted as a member of the Queen's Park Cricket Club in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, which recently opened its doors to females. She hasn't become one of the boys yet, though.

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