The West Indies came into this ICC World T20 2016 with a point to prove, that they are not just a bunch of mercenary cricketers, who care very little for the welfare of West Indies cricket; instead that they are a team, who want to play for each other, celebrate each other's' successes and want, more than anything, to win another World T20 title for the West Indies.
That point was proven, and then some, come the end of it all, as the West Indies trumped England in a nerve-jangling final at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata to become the first team to lift the World T20 title for the second time.
Put into bat first, England could only manage 155/9 in their 20 overs on a wicket that was made for around 170-180, and while the West Indies made heavy weather of the chase, losing three wickets in the first three overs, they had that man for the final – Marlon Samuels -- stand up and be counted yet again, with the right-hander scoring 85 (66b, 9x4, 2x6) precious, precious runs to hand WI a four-wicket victory with two balls to spare.
As good as Samuels was, though, it was Carlos Brathwaite (34, 10b, 1x4, 4x6) who won the West Indies the match in unbelievable fashion, scoring four sixes off the first four balls of the last over – no, really -- to make the 19 runs needed off the final over, bowled by a shattered Ben Stokes, look as easy as an apple pie and cue the only-West-Indies-can-do-it celebrations.
The perfect start for England would have been getting the two openers, particularly, Chris Gayle in the Powerplay overs. And the man to do that was Joe Root, in the second over of the match, both by tempting the batsmen to go for the big shot. Charles was the first to fall into the trap, mistiming a ball completely to Stokes while looking to smash the ball out of the galaxy. Gayle, after lofting one over backward point for four next ball, went for the big smash over long-off, but only found a gleeful Stokes, who made no mistake with the catch again.
Having done his bit with the bat, scoring a wonderful half-century, it looked like Root had won England the game with the ball again, or at least given them a real good chance of defending a sub-par total, with those hopes only increasing when David Willey trapped Lendl Simmons right in front with an in-dipper for a golden duck.
At 11/3 in 2.3 overs, West Indies needed a Marlon the-man-who-loves-the-finals Samuels special, and they got that as well, with the right-hander, after a scratchy start, taking the lead in the chase. In a fourth-wicket partnership of 75, Dwayne Bravo only scored 25, with Samuels, who was lucky to survive a caught behind after the third umpire deemed the ball had just bounced before lodging into Jos Buttler's gloves, taking matters into his own hands.
When Bravo fell in the final ball of the 14th over to the legspinner Adil Rashid, West Indies needed 70 from the final six overs. That was cut down to 52 from 30 balls as Samuels struck Liam Plunkett for a couple of sixes and a four, but England got their noses in front again, as Willey picked up the dangerous Andre Russell and the skipper Darren Sammy, with the former holing out at deep midwicket, while Sammy gave a catch to Alex Hales at deep cover.
It was now 45 from 24 balls with four wickets in hand for the West Indies, but as long as Samuels was at the crease, a win was very much possible. He kept them in it, with a couple of handy boundaries, with Brathwaite contributing as well, and what it all came down to was 19 runs needed in the final over.
Stokes was given that job of bowling that final high-pressure over, and it all went pear-shaped for Stokes in a hurry, as Brathwaite smoked four sixes off four consecutive balls to finish the match off in ridiculous style.
The England innings got off to a disastrous start as Jason Roy, who won them the match in the semifinals against New Zealand, got out in just the second ball of the match. Samuel Badree was the man who snuck the ball through his bat and pad and the West Indies legspinner enjoyed himself thoroughly on this not-made-for-the-spinners Eden Gardens wicket.
Badree (4-1-16-2) would go on to pick the England skipper Eoin Morgan as well after troubling the left-hander with pretty much every delivery he bowled before, while taking the catch at short fine-leg to get Alex Hales out as well.
With those three wickets, England were in big trouble, having scored just 23 runs in 4.4 overs, but Joe Root, so cool under the pressure, and Jos Buttler, so easily destructive even when his team are behind the eight-ball, put on a 61-run partnership off just 6.4 overs to drive the momentum back the English way.
Root is England's Virat Kohli, the man who scores at a strike rate of 140 or over without having to take a single risk. And, with Root batting like a dream at one end, Buttler did what he does best, go into tonk-town, particularly latching onto Sulieman Benn, who conceded 40 runs in his three overs. England were going along nicely at 84 in the 12th over, thanks to the fourth-wicket partnership, when the impressive Brathwaite (4-0-23-3) struck the big blow, inducing a false shot from Buttler (36, 22b, 1x4, 3x6), who holed out to Bravo in the deep.
England, though, continued on well, with Root and Stokes putting on 26 in just a shade over 2 overs to stay on course for a score of about 180. However, the England innings turned on its head when a slower ball bouncer from Bravo completely befuddled Stokes (13, 8b, 1x4), before Root (54, 36b, 7x4) fell to Brathwaite in the next over.
Suddenly, England were staring at a score well below par, and while Willey (21, 14b, 1x4, 2x6) struck a couple of valuable sixes towards the end of the innings, 155 always felt like it was not going to be enough, not against this West Indies batting lineup, not with superstars and superstars-in-waiting with a point or five to prove.
Watch the World T20 final highlights HERE