With the world”s two best T20 sides in business miles away from their home in the beautiful city of Florida this game was expected to be a thriller. Of course, it disappointed none.
489 runs, 32 sixes, 35 boundaries, two magnificent centuries and to add cherry on the cake a last ball finish.
Phew ! What more can you expect from a T20 game ? On 27th August 2016, About twenty thousand people in the stadium and a few million more through satellite telivision saw something which they will never forget in their lifetime.
On display was some fearless, remorseless and what seemed effortless hitting. Batsman had almost made fun of the boundary line, bowlers were busy watching the ball sail over them, fielders were mere spectators and the umpires had some serious excercise. Ofcourse, the crowd had a good catching practice.
West Indies first put up a mammoth of total by scoring 245 runs what was there personal best in T20I. Evin Lewis who had replaced the great Chris gayle, smashed a brilliant hundred which included 9 sixes and 5 boundaries in just 48 balls. Johnson Charles also joined the party and scored 79 off 33 balls.
However, India bowled some superb wide yorkers towards the end and conceded only 40 runs in the last four overs. Yet, the damage had already been done. The Men in blue had no choice but to go guns blazing right from the first ball. The calculation was plain and simple if India managed to get past the massive total it would be the biggest run chase in the history of T20I.
Rahane & Kohli had an early return to the dugout but Rohit sharma kept on going from one end. KL Rahul came to his help and scored a splendid hundred off just 46 balls at the perfect moment. There was class written all over his shots. His magnificent ton included 5 sixes and 12 fours.
After Rohit got out, Rahul continued his sublime form and the Indian skipper MS dhoni was playing his much needed part.
A historic victory was in sight and all seemed perfect for the men in blue till the 19th over. Until then, nobody knew that the game of cricket had different plans today. The final twist in tale was yet to arrive.
With only 8 runs to defend against arguably the best finisher in world cricket and a centurion at the other end the ball was handed over to Dwayne bravo. The drama was about to begin. A slower ball dipping in on dhoni who was 40 off 21 at that time draw an edge but Marlon Samuels standing at short third man dropped the catch to what Ian bishop called “sittest of sitters”.
Yet, it wasn”t the end of the story. Six needed of four, five needed of three. The numbers were busy playing their own game. Ultimately, it went down to the last ball with just two needed of it. Bravo had nothing to lose and so he took all the time in the world to set the field or rather forced dhoni into mind games. About five minutes went by before he bowled the last one. It was a slow dipping off-cutter again finding the edge of the bat and it went straight in the hands Marlon Samuels who did not make any mistake this time.
The game was over. West-Indies had pulled off a stunner and there came in the much awaited champion dance from DJ Bravo !
At the end of the day in the history books this game had been written in favour of the Caribbean”s and the Indians were left out in disappointment. So near yet so far for them. Cricket can be both funny and cruel at times.
– by Yash Kashikar