So ladies and gentlemen, we have our finalists. India and Srilanka, both were undoubtedly the best teams in the tournament, and somehow, more luckier too. But this is not about the finalists. This is about how the semifinalists, South Africa and West Indies, somehow managed to lose the match, in spite of having a chance to play on 6th April.
First let us look at West Indies. After a couple of resounding victories against hapless Australia and the very dangerous looking Pakistan, they were starting to look like the team to beat. Darren Sammy has gradually transformed himself into a productive finisher, whereas Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine were looking more and more unplayable with each passing match. The very fact that Pakistan, who considerably play well against spin, we in all waters against Badree during the start of their chase. But in semi-finals, the situation was different. Yes, West Indies did have a upper hand after the first half of Sri Lankan innings, but a stunning cameo from Angelo Matthews drove Sri Lanka to a very par score of 160 odd runs.
But the rest of the match is sort of an anti-climatic. West Indies openers were in all tatters against some quality fast and spin bowling. Malinga’s variations looked more threatening, as Gayle looked like a headless chicken facing them. Then, “THE OVER”, the 5th of the match, turned out to be the decider at the end. Malinga bagged both Dwayne Smith and Chris Gayle in the same over. Eventually, it was that over which cost them the match, as they lost to Sri Lanka by 27 runs by the D/L method.
Now where did the “Gangnam boys” go wrong?
- Horrible batting tactics: Yes, Gayle whole-new approach of taking it step-by-step is kinda interesting, but did anyone didn’t remind him that it was a semi final? A semi final in a pitch where the teams like NZ, Australia and Pakistan were reduced to rubble, while trying to chase a modest target. Too many dot balls at the beginning indeed cost West Indies the match. And not to forget the blunder of an innings from Marlon Samuels. 18 from 29? How is this acceptable while chasing a target? Yes, the Sri Lankan spinners were too good, but it does remind me of what Raina said about a week ago. West Indies are really poor runners between the wickets, and atleast 10-20 runs could have been garnered by tapping the ball between the gaps, and getting single or two.
- Lack of quality pacer: Andre Russel and Lasith Malinga was the difference between the teams. While Russel went for bonkers in his 3 overs, it was Malinga who took the two crucial wickets, which eventually sealed the match for the Lankans. Yes, spinners are the game changers this time at the WCT20. But having a quality pacer does make a difference.
- The dreaded D/L factor : D/L method has played spoilsport for more than once in these ICC tournaments, and this time it is not anything different. Out of nowhere, the match got washed off. Well, we cannot really say whether WI had a chance of chasing it, considering their position, but you may never know what was in stores for us. And moreover, the D/L calculation is something that is beyond reachable to anyone, and all we can think is look back and say “what if it hadn’t rained”.
This ends the first part of the series. Watch out for the second part, where, the analysis of, where SA went wrong will be done.