West Indies World T20 final triumph hailed as ‘one of the best ever’
With the West Indies requiring 19 runs for victory off the last over, the Barbadian needed just four of Ben Stokes’ final six deliveries to seal a four-wicket victory at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens on Sunday.
“Anyone who was here witnessed one of the great T20 matches. It was won, it was lost, then won, then lost. No side really deserved to lose it,” former England captain Nasser Hussain wrote in his Daily Mail column after West Indies chased down England’s 155 for nine on a difficult batting surface.
Fellow former England skipper Michael Atherton wrote in The Times: “It was a stunning end to a stunning tournament that showcased the best of the modern game — a game in which England played a full part for once.”
The Daily Telegraph described Brathwaite’s onslaught as “four balls that stunned the world” with its correspondent Jonathan Liew writing: “It was one of the most remarkable victories ever known.
“A match that will resound well beyond the boundaries of this stadium, well beyond the boundaries of Twenty20 as a finish for the ages.”
While Brathwaite’s incredible display of power-hitting allowed the Caribbean side to become the first to win the World Twenty20 title twice, there was plenty of sympathy for England bowler Stokes, who was on the receiving end of the late mauling.
England skipper Eoin Morgan said: “Ben is going to be devastated. Cricket can be a cruel game, it will take its toll over the next couple of days but we share the pain, we share the success.”
Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene, one of the greatest batsmen of recent times, also had sympathy for Stokes saying on ESPN that he was punished by Brathwaite because his deliveries were not quite accurate enough.
“But I feel sorry for Ben Stokes — and a lot of the bowlers in this day and age,” he added.
Meanwhile, former Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee was full of praise for the victors and their approach towards Twenty20 cricket.
He told ESPN he had written about their batting prowess in his newspaper column before the tournament began and said it was that power that secured victory in the end.
“There has never been another six-hitting team like this one, and that turned out to be the clincher,” he said.