WHO said Caribbean cricket was dead?
A stunning final over saw the West Indies men’s team down England on Sunday night to claim its second ICC World Twenty20 title.
That made it a clean sweep for WI after the women’s team upset Australia earlier in the day to lift the trophy for the first time.
It was also a big win for punters who got on the Caribbean Kings at the semifinal stage, when they were paying as much as $6 outright at Crownbet.com.au.
England did half the job for Darren Sammy’s side, with Joe Root (54) and Jos Buttler (36) the only batsmen to pass 20 runs in a very gettable total of 155.
It looked like that might be enough as the West Indies top seven suffered an eerily similar collapse, with Johnson Charles (1), Chris Gayle (4), Lendl Simmons (0), Andre Russell (1) and Darren Sammy (2) contributing a combined total of eight runs.
But Marlon Samuels (85*), so often the whipping boy, kept his head and found a fellow fighter in Dwayne Bravo (25) as he brought back memories of his brilliant innings at the 2012 T20 World Cup final in Sri Lanka.
The outlook was still bleak when Russell and Sammy were sent packing in the 16th over, and it was the Brits in control when Carlos Brathwaite faced up to the 20th.
The Windies needed 19 to win off six deliveries from Ben Stokes, who had starred in the death overs throughout the tournament.
Brathwaite needed only four, sealing the deal in spectacular fashion with a quartet of consecutive sixes.
But most of the post-match press has focused on Samuels, who used the presentation ceremony as a platform to vent at his critics.
Holding aloft his man-of-the-match award, Samuels said: “Shane Warne has been talking continuously and all I want to say is ‘this is for Shane Warne’.
“I answer with the bat and not the mic.”
Samuels also had some choice words for Stokes, with whom he has shared several on-field clashes in recent years.
“Stokes is a nervous lad, isn’t he? I told Brathwaite … he’s going to bowl a couple of full tosses. As always,” he told reporters after the match.
“And it worked in our favour. He [Stokes] doesn’t learn.”
Such comments earned Samuels a fine from the ICC, but he wasn’t the only senior member of the West Indian squad to court controversy from the dais.
During his acceptance speech, the skipper had a few pointed remarks to make about the WICB and certain pundits who have questioned the depth of both talent and intelligence within the playing group.
“I’ve said we have 15 match-winners. Nobody gave us a chance but every game somebody stepped up and took responsibility,” said Sammy.
“To see Carlos play like that in his debut World Cup, it’s just tremendous. It shows the depth we have in the Caribbean in T20 cricket and hopefully with the right structure and development our cricket will continue to improve in one-day and Test cricket.
“We started this journey … we all know we had … people were wondering whether we would play this tournament. We had a lot of issues, we felt disrespected by our board, Mark Nicholas described our team as a team with no brains.
“All these things before the tournament just brought this team together. I really want to thank these 15 men, the ability to just put all those adversities aside and to come out and play this type of cricket in front of such passionate fans, it’s just tremendous.”
His opposite number, Eoin Morgan, rued a brittle batting performance at Eden Gardens but praised his squad’s aggressive, all-action play throughout India 2016.
“We didn’t have enough runs on the board. It was a really good batting surface, maybe 180-90 was par,” Morgan said.
“We showed an immense amount of character in the tournament, not quite done enough to win it. I truly believe this is only the start of something special.”
The England skipper also made it clear that Stokes, who was visibly distraught after his costly closing over, would not be alone in his suffering.
“It’s quite simple from my point of view,” said Morgan.
“He is going to be devastated, and it’ll take its toll over the next couple of days, but we share everything that we do, we stick together as a side, we share the pain, we share the success, now and in the future.”
World Twenty20 final betting results
Most cricket betting sites had England and West Indies on level pegging for the decider at Kolkata.
Bet365.com offered the best odds, paying $1.95 for either to win.
We applaud those who went against the grain and backed in the much-maligned Samuels, who top scored on his way to the man-of-the-match award.
It was also a good night out for Brathwaite, who smashed the winning runs and was the pick of the West Indian bowlers with 3/23 from four overs.
Root capped an excellent tournament with another top-scoring performance for England, while David Willey almost bowled his side to victory with figures of 3/20.
Although neither side scored well in the early overs, West Indies managed a batting trifecta by winning the highest opening partnership, highest first six overs and most match sixes markets.
West Indies – $1.95
Man of the match
Marlon Samuels – $15
Top team batsman
Joe Root (ENG) – $3.60
Marlon Samuels (WI) – $5
Top team bowler
Carlos Brathwaite (WI) – $5.50
David Willey (ENG) – $4.50
Highest opening partnership
West Indies – $1.90
Most match sixes
West Indies – $1.72
Highest first six overs
West Indies – $1.90
Odds provided by www.Bet365.com
2016 T20 World Cup futures markets
West Indies were well back in the outright betting at Sportsbet when the tourney began, slated at $9 behind England, South Africa, Australia and India.
The eventual champions were also a $4 chance to reach the final, while the runners-up were just ahead at $3.75.
The battle for top tournament runscorer turned out to be a two-way affair between Root and Virat Kohli, who justified his favourite’s status with 273 runs at a strike rate of 146.77 and an average of 136.50.
Much less predictable was the identity of the top wicket-taker, as New Zealand’s Mitchell Santner (10 wickets, average 11.40, strike rate 10.9) was not even quoted among the top 20 prospects at the beginning of the tournament.
He just edged out his fellow Kiwi spinner Ish Sodhi, who was a $26 contender and missed out by less than one run in both strike rate (11.8) and bowling average (12.00).
To win outright
West Indies – $9
To reach the final
England – $3.75
West Indies – $4
Top tournament batsman
Virat Kohli – $8
Top tournament bowler
Mitchell Santner – $1.72* at Bet365
* Finishing price – all other pre-tournament odds provided by Sportsbet.com
England vs. India – 5th Test odds & Virat Kohli specials
England vs. India – 4th Test odds, tips & player specials
England vs. India – 3rd Test odds, best bets & player specials
Best odds for Virat Kohli – England vs. India, 2nd Test
England vs. India – 1st Test odds, best bets & top batsman...
Latest news & cricket odds for England vs. India Test series
2018 IPL Grand Final betting – Watson & Williamson odds & tips
Kolkata vs. Hyderabad IPL qualifying tips – Khartik & Williamson odds