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The West Indies produced an incredible fightback in Colombo on Sunday night to stun Sri Lanka by 36 runs to win the ICC World T20 title. Batting first, the Windies were struggling with just 48 runs on the board in the 12th over, but an exceptional 78 from Man of the Match Marlon Samuels and a crucial unbeaten 26 from Skipper Darren Sammy helped the West Indies post a competitive 137-6 in their 20 overs. Sri Lanka were looking good early in their chase, but Sammy continued to show exceptional leadership skills, marshalling his resources brilliantly, and kept the scoring rate in check to force Sri Lanka to throw their wickets away. It proved to be a day for the mystery spinners with Sunil Narine taking 3-9 to match Ajantha Mendis' 4-12. In the end though, the pressure got too much for the home side, as they collapsed to 101 all out.
A party atmosphere rang around the R Premadasa Stadium at the all important toss in the ICC World T20 Final. The flip of the coin went the way of the affable Darren Sammy, and the West Indies skipper had no hesitation in opting to bat first.
The Windies came into this game with an unchanged side, the good news for them was that Chris Gayle had recovered sufficiently from his strain to take the field. The Sri Lankans made the one expected change with rookie spinner Akila Dananjaya given the nod ahead of the veteran left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, despite the latter's brilliant showing in the semi-final against Pakistan.
Charged on by their fanatical home support, the Sri Lankans came out firing on all cylinders with the ball. Angelo Mathews was on the money right away, bowling a wicket maiden to start the match, picking up the wicket of Johnson Charles on the fifth ball of his over. Chris Gayle was also struggling out in the middle to lay bat on ball and was eventually dismissed for an agonizing 3 from 16 balls as the Windies slumped to a terrible 14-2 in the powerplay.
Marlon Samuels once again came to the West Indies rescue and played a stellar hand. He got good support from Darren Bravo, who contributed a vital run-a-ball 19 before being given out leg before to Ajantha Mendis. Mendis was on fire and picked up the bonus wickets of Kieron Pollard (2) and Andre Russell (0) on consecutive deliveries to leave the Windies in even more trouble at 87-5. Mendis finished with match-winning figures of 4-12.
Samuels though refused to go down without a fight, and spanked Lasith Malinga for 5 sixes to give the West Indies a fighting chance. Samuels though fell to Akila Dananjaya on the first ball of the 18th over to put Sri Lanka right back on top.
Windies skipper Darren Sammy made a battling 26 from 15 balls to give his side a late flourish to push the score along to 137-6.
Chasing an ordinary target, Sri Lanka needed to just play sensible cricket to win the game. Ravi Rampaul gave the West Indies early hope by removing Dilshan for naught with an absolute jaffer that pitched on middle and clipped the top of off-stump. However, the West Indies were luckless in the field with an outside edge from Sangakkara evading the lone slip, while a top edge from an attempted sweep being put down in the deep by the usually reliable Dwayne Bravo. At the end of 7 overs, Sri Lanka were cruising at 35-1 when Windies unleashed their biggest weapon in Sunil Narine.
The Windies did well to dry up the runs in the middle overs and the building pressure caused a struggling Kumar Sangakkara to lash out at Badree, but failed to keep his pull shot down, finding the bucket hands of Pollard in the deep. He fell for 22. In the very next over, Skipper Sammy brought himself into the attack and bowled Angelo Mathews for 1 to bring the Windies right back into this contest. At the end of 11 overs, Sri Lanka were struggling at 53-3, with the equation rising to 85 from 54 balls.
Mahela was gifted yet another life when Andre Russell missed a tough chance in the deep in Badree's last over, but the Lankan skipper returned the favour in the next over by throwing away his wicket, top edging an attempted reverse sweep off Sunil Narine. The Lankan skipper had made 33.
The Windies picked up a bonus wicket with a suicidal second run attempted off a fumble by Bravo catching Jeevan Mendis (3) out of his crease. At the end of 13 overs, the hosts had slipped to 64-5, and suddenly it was West Indies' game to lose.
The drama continued unabated as Denesh Ramdin ran out Thisara Perera (3) in the following over and then Darren Sammy had Lahiru Thirimanne caught in the deep for 4.
The pressure was relieved by Nuwan Kulasekara, who latched on to some poor bowling by Ravi Rampaul, to smash 22 runs in an over to bring the Premadasa back to life. Suddenly it was game on once again with 44 runs needed from 24 balls for Sri Lanka.
The magic of Sunil Narine ended Kulasekara's cameo for 26, and the mystery spinner conceded just 3 from a brilliant 17th over. Samuels and Narine then wrapped up the contest, cleaning up the tailenders to clinch an incredible 36 run win.
While one would have to feel for Sri Lanka, who came so close in yet another final, the win was a thoroughly deserved one for the West Indies, whose ability to keep their cool under pressure shone at the crucial moments of this contest.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Jeevan Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis, Akila Dananjaya.
West Indies: Johnson Charles, Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Denesh Ramdin, Darren Sammy, Ravi Rampaul, Samuel Badree, Sunil Narine.
West Indies 137-6 (20 overs, 6.85rpo)
M Samuels 78 (56) A Mendis 4-12
D Sammy 26* (15) A Mathews 1-11
Sri Lanka 101 all out (18.4 overs, 5.41rpo)
M Jayawardene 33 (36) S Narine 3-9
N Kulasekara 26 (13) D Sammy 2-6
West Indies win by 36 runs to clinch the ICC World T20
File Photograph Copyright: WICB
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