Fans of cricket, and specifically T20 cricket, will surely remember the last men’s T20 World Cup which was won by West Indies on April 3, 2016 and how they did it. Ben Stokes with the ball, West Indies needing 19 off the last over, tempers frayed all course of the final, and a young allrounder on strike.
Sadly, I wonder how many remember Carlos Brathwaite, hero of that World Cup final at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, who struck Stokes for four successive sixes to take West Indies to victory by four wickets with two balls left.
Put in to bat, England had lost the wickets of Jason Roy, Alex Hales and their captain, Eoin Morgan in quick succession. Then there was a partnership between Joe Root and Jos Buttler which steadied the innings. This iportant partnership was broken by that night’s hero, Brathwaite, as he dismissed Buttler. Later, Brathwaite removed Root and David Willey. England had given a target of 156 to West Indies.
Their chase started in similar fashion to England’s. They quickly lost the wickets of Johnson Charles, Chris Gayle and Lendl Simmons to slip to 11-3. Then there was a solid partnership between Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo, which ended when the latter was dismissed for 25. Then it went downhill faster as Andre Russell (1) and skipper Darren Sammy (2) departed in succession.
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Enter Brathwaite, with West Indies needing 49 runs from 27 balls with four wickets left. As a partnership was formed, Marlon Samuels played most of the balls. Brathwaite had only faced six balls in which he hit a four.
The game went into the last over. West Indies required 19 runs from six balls. A difficult ask, no matter who is on strike. What happened over the course of the next four balls has been immortalised in the minds and hearts of countess cricket fans. Brathwaite smashed four successive sixes off a stunned Stokes to deliver West Indies their second T20 World Cup title.
One still remembers the famous lines uttered by former West Indies fast bowler turned commentator Ian Bishop as the winning six was struck: “Remember the name … Carlos Brathwaite!”
And here we are, five years on in the next T20 World Cup, and Brathwaite is not in West Indies’ squad. He has become a media pundit and commentator, at the age of 33. He has not played for West Indies since August 2019. In the recent CPL, he did nothing of note.
Such is cricket, that a headline-grabbing allrounder can fade away as quickly as he rises to fame. Whatever Brathwaite does from here, I will always remember him on that stirring April night at Eden Gardens.