Friday, April 1, 2016

T20 World Cup - India versus West Indies

A couple of things that the West Indian captain Darren Sammy said in the post-match interview summed it up for me. One that they believed they could get whatever the Indians posted on the board. Another that he believes that his team has 15 match winners, not just Chris Gayle. And lastly that they told themselves that this is a win that the Indians will not give them, they will have to go and get it from the Indians. Reminds you of the Spartans - their 'come and get them' dialogue.

I love the West Indies and the spirit they bring to the game. It's something that has been missing. All those who have missed seeing the swagger of Viv Richards, the lurking, brooding preence of Clive Lloyd, the incredible professionalism of Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes, the flair of Roy Fredericks, the frightening, relentless pace and control of Holding, Roberts, Croft, Daniel, Garner - will not understand what they have missed. Until you see these colorful Calypso kings, with a song in their heart, courage on their sleeve, wading into battle. This time, with a purpose. That I think was the difference. What they perhaps lacked tactically, they made up by sheer intent and belief. And power.

The toss was crucial and losing it made two of India's key bowling options almost redundant - Ashwin and Jadeja. Then we made it difficult by bowling no balls and letting a rampaging Lendl Simmons rage on after two, nay three reprieves. Not to take anything away because he timed his shots beautifully and stroked his way to his 83* wonderfully. All the heroics of Virat Kohli earlier in the day, which at one point seemed like too much of a target for any team, leave alone a West Indian team that loses Gayle in the second over, suddenly faded. In a most casual, extraordinary fashion.

I loved the way young opener Charles played. He has an easy way of swinging the ball away to the onside and made some of those shots look so easy. Its a bit like the style that the West Indian women's team member Dottin plays. Charles kept the score on track with those free flowing shots of his after India relaxed a bit when Bumrah got Gayle on his first ball. Then young Simmons who was not in the squad walks in and starts picking up clean and well hit fours and while you knew that the West Indies were facing a tough target you also were aware at the ease with which the runs were being scored. And you also had this slightly sneaky premonition - the firepower that rests in the batting - Russell, Bravo. Sammy. Braithwaite, Ramdin can all easily clear the fence if they connect. The Windies have the kind of power to hit three or four sixes in an over effortlessly. And that's what came into play as Russell and Simmons started carting the bowling at ease over the ropes as soon as a couple of dot balls were bowled. Jadeja bowled four good balls and boom, a six and a four. Bumrah bowled three dots and boom. Six and four.

No miracles were on hand to save India this time. In fact all miracles went the other way as Simmons got two easy reprieves. But after seeing the way Russel batted and after hearing what Sammy had to say after the game, you somehow felt that they were ready. They deserved it. MSD was a relieved man and joked away in his press conference. But another good campaign by India.

I just saw a clip on facebook about the West Indies celebrating a match win with their famous Champion song. That's the true essence of West Indian spirit. The celebratory influence it brings to cricket.

And while there I must also mention how wonderfully Sammy put it when he said that they were inspired by the Under 19 win of the West Indies in the world cup. Such a thoughtful thing to say. Or even how Simmons was casual and modest about his inning and everyone kept saying - you're being too modest. that's when we realised that we are not used to modesty anymore in champions. Its all about baring the chest, banging it, snarling. This is another way to do it, casually. Job done.

I would love to watch both games on Sunday. For the good of the game I hope both West Indian teams win.

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