Cricket: Windies claim the T20 crown

Marlon Samuels.
Marlon Samuels.
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Marlon Samuels inspired a West Indies fightback from the brink to deny Sri Lanka a home win and triumph themselves instead in the ICC World Twenty20 final.

Samuels’ memorable 78 revived the Windies, after it appeared they had fluffed their lines terminally, on the way to an improbable 36-run victory at the Premadasa Stadium.

In a showpiece match which saw the majority of bowlers excel themselves, and almost all the batsmen stumble on centre stage, Samuels bucked the trend emphatically with a 56-ball innings containing six sixes and three fours on a fair pitch.

How the West Indies needed him, though, after an embarrassing false start to their innings in which master blaster Chris Gayle could make only three from 16 balls.

Even after Samuels had transformed proceedings, it seemed West Indies had almost certainly fallen short of a winning score with their 137-6.

But it was to be Sri Lanka who truly froze as what appeared a near routine chase featured a mid-innings collapse of six wickets for 21 runs – for a final product of 101 all out in the 19th over, and just the Windies’ second International Cricket Council global trophy since the 1979 World Cup.

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