Marlon Samuels blasted 78 off 56 balls and took a wicket as West Indies beat host Sri Lanka by 36 runs to win its first World Twenty20 cricket title.
West Indies made 137-6 off its 20 overs against the tournament host after winning the toss in Colombo last night. Sri Lanka was all out for 101 with eight balls remaining after a middle-order batting slump.
The victory gave West Indies, which dominated international cricket from the late 1970s through to the 1990s, its fourth major title having won the first two editions of the World Cup in 1975 and 1979 and the Champions Trophy eight years ago.
“This is a great achievement, for past cricketers and for these cricketers who have bonded together to form a strong unit,” man of the match Samuels said in a news conference. “The entire Caribbean embraces it. The sky is the limit and words can’t really explain it. It means the world to us.”
Sri Lanka fell to its fourth defeat in as many finals after losing the World Twenty20 championship match to Pakistan three years ago, as well as the 2007 and 2011 World Cup finals to Australia and India, respectively.
Samuels’s innings, which included six sixes, rallied the West Indies after a slow start. Johnson Charles was caught by Nuwan Kulasekara off Angelo Mathews without a run on the board. The home team then removed big-hitting opener Chris Gayle, trapped leg-before-wicket by Ajantha Mendis after scoring three off 16 balls. That left the score on 14-2 after six overs.
Samuels and Dwayne Bravo, with 19 runs, steadied the innings, though Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell were dismissed in successive balls as West Indies lost momentum. Sammy added 26 not out off 15 balls. Mendis took 4-12 to finish as the 12- nation tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 15.
Sri Lanka opener Tillakaratne Dilshan was bowled by Ravi Rampaul as West Indies made an early breakthrough. Kumar Sangakkara, with 22 runs, and captain Mahela Jayawardene restored stability only for the innings to crumble after reaching 51-2.
Mathews was out for one run, Jayawardene was caught by Sammy for 33, and then Jeevan Mendis and Thisara Perera were run out in quick succession to reduce Sri Lanka to 64-6.
Kulasekara threatened to get the run chase back on course with 26 off 13 balls, though the home team couldn’t maintain the momentum. Jayawardene, Sangakkara and Kulasekara were the only Sri Lankan batsmen to reach double figures. Spin bowler Sunil Narine took 3-9 and Samuels chipped in with the wicket of Ajantha Mendis.
“It was tough for us to get into it,” Jayawardene said. “We lost momentum when Dilshan fell. They bowled really well, we just needed to keep the pressure on, which we didn’t. We just couldn’t get through that final hurdle.”
Australia’s Shane Watson, who had four straight man-of-the- match awards and struck 249 runs to top the run-scoring list, was named player of the tournament after helping his team reach the semifinals.
The World Twenty20, generally held every two years, is the championship of the game’s newest and shortest format. West Indies picked up $1 million in prize money for winning the fourth edition.
“This is definitely a step forward,” said West Indies captain Darren Sammy. “We believe we can win matches. We’re not trying just to compete any more. We believe we can win against good opposition. Hopefully, this can be the start of something good for the West Indies team and the people.”
Earlier yesterday, Australia beat England by four runs in the women’s final to retain its title.
Jess Cameron scored 45 runs as Australia totaled 142-4 in its 20 overs in Colombo. Captain Charlotte Edwards top scored for England with 28 as it could only manage 138-9. Jess Jonassen took 3-25 to lead the Australian bowlers.
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