The 2016 World Cup was one of the more exciting editions of the league. Here’s Bet India’s pick of the top three games of the tournament.
When all was said and done, it was the West Indies holding that big World Cup trophy aloft. Those four towering sixes from the big bat of Carlos Brathwaite (more on him later) saw the Windies and not England secure their second T20 World Cup win in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Group Stage Match, March 23rd, Bangalore: Rahim’s choke
Bangladesh rarely beat India in any format. There’s a big gulf between the two sides in terms of quality most of the time and, from an online cricket betting perspective, the odds that the Tigers will beat India don’t come along very often.
But when it came along in a Group match at the 2016 World Cup, Bangladesh only had themselves to blame.
Bangladesh won the toss and put India in to bat. No one really got going on a slightly tricky surface as they posted just 146/7.
There were starts from Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli but none of them kicked on and their strike rates were pretty low. Suresh Raina was the best of a bad bunch with 30 off 23.
In reply, Bangladesh started reasonably well. There was a patient 35 off 32 from Tamim Iqbal and both Sabbir Rahman and Shakib Al-Hasan contributed to the cause with scores in the 20s at a good strike rate.
By the time they got to the final over, they needed just 10 runs with four wickets in hand. Better still, it was Mushfiqur Rahim at the crease, one of their most experienced men. Hardik Pandya was bowling the final over for India.
After a Mahmudullah single, things couldn’t have gone any better for Rahim: two balls, two boundaries. Two needed off three. One for a tie.
And then he choked. Rather than making sure of the single to ensure at least a tie, he went for glory. He was caught at midwicket by Dhawan. Still, no problem. Two needed off two.
But then Mahmudullah suffered a similar fate, caught by Ravindra Jadeja off a full toss. Two off one needed.
Now with tail-enders at the crease, it wasn’t so easy. A big swing, a big miss. MS Dhoni runs to the wicket and destroys the stumps; he’s too quick for Mustafizur Rahman.
Not only did Bangladesh bottle it but in the process they allowed India to progress. They may never have a better chance to beat them at a World Cup.
Semi-Final, March 31st, Mumbai: When India handed Simmons two lifelines
At the break, India had posted a highly competitive 192-2. Rohit Sharma got 43 off 31 in a brisk start and Ajinkya Rahane, a decent 40 off 35.
But the pick of their batters was inevitably Virat Kohli, who put on an exhibition of excellent T20 batting.
He may only have struck one six but his 11 boundaries were a sign of a man in beautiful form, in full control. His hard running alongside MS Dhoni in the last few overs was top drawer, too. Kohli ended on 89 off 47.
But the Windies knew this was a high-scoring ground. Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels went cheaply but opener Johnson Charles got to fifty before being out to Virat Kohli, of all people.
Going well at the other end was Lendl Simmons. He was playing at his home ground in Mumbai (he had played for Mumbai Indians in the past) and playing in his first match of the tournament after flying out just for this one game. He’d been injured and came in as an injury replacement himself.
Batting at four, he was aggressive and positive from the start. But India handed him not one but two lifelines. Twice he was out caught, twice Indian bowlers had overstepped and were guilty of bowling no-balls.
Helping him along the way was Andre Russell. The KKR star was promoted to number five and duly smashed 43 off 20, including four sixes. Between them they found a boundary every time they were falling behind the run rate, putting the pressure back on India.
By the time Russell had hit the fourth ball of the 20th over for six to win the game, Simmons had made 82 off 51 in one of the best chases you’ll ever see. They were in the World Cup final.
India were left to think about the mistakes they made, none more so than those two no-balls.
The Final, April 3rd, Kolkata: A night made for Marlon
England batted first but things started poorly for them; both openers were gone with just one run on the board. West Indies in control.
Batting at three, Joe Root steadied the ship. He played a sensible knock of 54 off 36 but got out just as he was accelerating, falling to Carlos Brathwaite.
Jos Buttler helped with 36 off 22 and David Willey slogged 21 off 14 at the death to give them something to defend. But was 155 enough?
Then England did something very odd indeed. They handed the second over to Joe Root, a part-time spinner at best. This was a crucial over in a World Cup final and Root was there for the taking.
Or so Johnson Charles and Chris Gayle thought. Both went after Root in search of cheap runs, both were caught by Ben Stokes on the boundary.
Lendl Simmons, the hero from the semi, was out for a duck. He wasn’t going to win it for them.
All of a sudden that total wasn’t looking so straightforward anymore. They were 13/3.
Enter Marlon Samuels. The moody Jamaican had had an up and down tournament and had been on the receiving end of plenty of criticism after a soft dismissal in the semi.
But Samuels stuck to his gameplan. Cautious towards good balls, brutal on bad balls.
Big-hitters Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and Daren Sammy came and went. Samuels was still there.
Joining him at the crease was Brathwaite, who had already had a good game with the ball, taking three wickets.
The Windies had a quiet 19th over, bowled by Chris Jordan. It went for just seven. Crucially, it was to be Brathwaite on strike for the first ball of the 20th; Stokes to bowl it. They needed 19 off it.
The next five minutes or so are some of the most-watched cricket footage ever. Stokes bowled too full first up and Brathwaite hit him for six. And then another. And then yet another.
Stokes was down on his haunches, England were about to go down in a final they’d looked like winning for the last hour. He only needed one to win it but Brathwaite hit the fourth ball for six anyway.
‘Carlos Brathwaite. Remember the name.’ roared West Indian commentator Ian Bishop. We did.
Brathwaite ended on 34 off 10 but it was Samuels who had done most of the heroics. 85 off 66 in the tensest and most trying of circumstances.
Stokes is consoled by his team-mates after bowling an over he’ll never forget. The Windies players aren’t consoling anyone. They’re World Champions for a second time, Samuels and Stokes couldn’t stand each other and there’s going to be one hell of a party in Kolkata that night.
England are second-favourites to win the 2021 World Cup with Betway.