Mumbai, April 4 (IANS) The World Twenty20 2016 concluded in a most thrilling fashion with the West Indies scripting history by becoming the first team to clinch the title for the second time. The party for the Windies on Sunday at the iconic Eden Gardens got even bigger and better as before the men’s final, the women’s team won the Women’s World T20 to make it two world titles in a day.
Before the tournament actually kicked off, nobody gave the men from the Caribbean a chance to reach the final, because of their recent troubles off the field with their cricket board and with a few T20 specialists missing from their squad due to injury.
But the depth in the batting and bowling line-up, the talent in their dressing room and their bench strength fought against all odds and proved the critics wrong by eventually claiming their second World T20 title after 2012.
Each and every member of the squad delivered when it mattered most and the final against England will be everlasting in their memories thanks to Carlos Brathwaite’s late assault with the bat which left 2010 winners England stunned.
With the West Indies also winning the U-19 World Cup earlier this year, 2016 is witnessing a revival of sorts for the former superpowers of the game. They may no longer be the same force they used to be in Test cricket, but Sunday’s triumph clearly demonstrated that they are still among the best when it comes to limited-overs cricket.
Besides the West Indies, hosts India, who were termed as favourites to win the title, gave it their all with three successive wins after a loss against New Zealand in the opener but failed to hold on till the end.
With comfortable back-to-back victories against arch-rivals Pakistan, Bangladesh and Australia, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men made their way through to the semi-finals but surrendered to the mighty West Indians who took the game away from the hosts to leave India and their millions of fans shell-shocked.
Although the 2007 inaugural World T20 winners failed to make it to their third final, their all-win record against traditional rivals Pakistan in the World T20 and 50-over World Cup remained intact.
Courtesy of star batsman Virat Kohli’s sublime form, the hosts outplayed their neighbours in all departments of the game in the Group 2 match to make it 11-0 in their favour in both 20-over and 50-over World Cups.
But the sixth edition of the World T20, like the earlier editions, has seen big totals chased down with ease. New Zealand’s Martin Guptill starting off the tournament with a six off the first ball and Brathwaite finished it off on Sunday with another maximum — sums up why cricket is considered to be a batsman’s game.
But the team which surprised all with their consistency throughout the group stages of the tournament was ICC associate member nation Afghanistan.
After troubling England, South Africa and Sri Lanka, the talented and spirited side scripted one of the most memorable wins by coming out as the only team to have beaten eventual champions West Indies in the tournament.
With the sixth edition of the World T20 in the sub-continent done and dusted, Australia will host the seventh edition in 2020. Expect another run-feast and cracker of a contest between bat and ball.