Flair-filled spectacle

West Indies captain Darren Sammy (L) and his English counterpart Eoin Morgan (R) were in good spirits at their pre-match press conferences in Kolkata yesterday.

So it has come down to a Sunday blockbuster final between West Indies and England at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. It may not have matched the pre-tournament expectations, but the sixth edition of the ICC World Twenty20 has presented two worthy finalists who have lived up to the true essence of the shortest version of the game -- power-hitting at its best. And if the naughty Eden wicket is anything but a slow turner the world audience is set for a cracker of a final involving a team that is out to revive the glory days of calypso cricket, against a new breed of English cricketers who have shunned the conventional copybook style and has been 'batting without fear of failure' ever since their first-round exit from the 50-over version of the world platform a year ago.
If a T20 game is all about power-hitting in the first six overs, England have showed that they are the best with an astonishing run-rate of 9.50, more than three runs per over more than West Indies' 6.4. But West Indies more than compensated for that deficit when it comes down to hitting boundaries. They have scored almost 66 per cent of their runs in boundaries. England showed how ruthless they were in chasing down any total and it was evident against South Africa who failed to defend a target of 230. They demonstrated that non-stop aggression in the first semifinal against New Zealand, where opener Jason Roy started the fireworks before Jos Buttler finished that seamless chase with plenty of overs to spare.

England's passage to the final in a year's time since their defeat against Bangladesh in the 2015 World Cup under the same leadership of Eoin Morgan is just about a change of attitude, which according to Bangladesh captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza used to be a 'very nervous' one. While reflecting on that game in Adelaide, the Bangladesh captain still believes that it was only because of nervousness England chose to field when they should have batted first.
But that nervous team has now turned into a bold one because of that aggressive mindset and it won't be a surprise if they win the title and with it win a lot of fans beyond England.
For West Indies aggression and flair were never been missing, whether in the best of times or in desperate times. Their biggest problem was in administration and divided loyalties among the players. The central contract issue has remained a thorny issue and often raised its ugly head before every ICC event. But new leadership has apparently defused that volatile atmosphere on and off the field and under the inspired and joyful captaincy of Darren Sammy, the Caribbean outfit now looks like a team capable of backtracking to those glory days when they ruled the cricket world.
They have got the Gayle-force. But more refreshingly they are not a one-man army. Their victory against a Virat Kohli-powered India in the second semifinal, arguably the second best exciting game of the tournament after Bangladesh's heart-stopping defeat against India, was a demonstration of plenty of firepower beyond Gayle.
The West Indies team song, a fabulous Dwayne (DJ) Bravo solo, has already captured the hearts and minds of the world audience. Champion, champion is growing loud to louder. And after today's Eden battle the DJ Bravo song can go universal even if England wins it.

source : the daily star

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