West Indies’ 2016 World T20 win: Fortunately for them, they weren’t playing cyborgs

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Ben Stokes’ coolly outmanoevred Carlos Brathwaite at the death. Had the West Indian launched his attack earlier in the match, he could have hit six sixes in an over. As it was, he was denied by winning the World T20 after just four balls. Stokes is doubtless delighted.

The desired rate

There was no required rate when England batted, but there was certainly a desired rate. Samuel Badree’s opening salvo (2-16 off four) meant that they were always behind the desired rate. A few extra risks perhaps ensued.

There’s actually a case for saying that Eoin Morgan’s golden duck in the semi-final was a better innings than his 12-ball effort in the final. Facing for a tenth of England’s innings, Morgan contributed just five runs. In some respects it’s hard to blame him being as England were 8-2 when he came in, but in other, more meaningful respects, it also wasn’t good enough. Those who followed him were forced into trying to pick up the slack.

Contrast Morgan’s innings with that of Joe Root, who calmly and seemingly effortlessly rebuilt while scoring at a rate of 150 runs per hundred balls. That’s what was needed. No, it’s not easy to do, but this is the final of a world tournament. It’s about being the best.

Singles par or swingers par?

England’s score apparently fell short of ‘par’. For most of their innings, West Indies also didn’t look like achieving such a thing. Despite this, the commentators continued talking about it, as if it were of any relevance whatsoever. Maybe if the teams were playing against some sort of generic cyborg side whose results were generated by a computer before the match, it would have made sense. But they weren’t. They were playing each other.

West Indies’ innings

There’s definitely a case for bowling your five shittest bowlers in the most high pressure matches. There is nothing harder for a professional batsman to time than loopy filth.

Then there’s the ego aspect. If you open the bowling with Joe Root, for example, there is almost an obligation to get after him lest England fiddle through a couple of economical overs. And if you’re going to play on someone’s ego, pick your target carefully. Chris Gayle did what was expected of him. Johnson Charles was a bonus.

But it wasn’t really enough. Even when it got down to 19 needed from the final over, 19 didn’t seem all that large a number – although we couldn’t really have imagined how small it would prove to be. Carlos Brathwaite produced what must rank as the most brutally clinical finish under unimaginable pressure.

Moral of the story

The best way to win Twenty20 matches is to bat slowly and patiently, building a platform, before having a great big slog at the end. Turns out England were ahead of the game all that time. And now they’re behind again.

No, the truth is there’s no secret to Twenty20. The trick, really, is to play well no matter what your strategy.


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  1. Stokes – he makes things happen.

    But that aside, a) well done the West Indies, b) well done England for being in with a good shout with six balls of the tournament to go, and c) can we finally stop thinking that T20 is more than a single-dimension sport.

    That’s OK, of course – 100m sprinting is one-dimensional (literally), and it is not any less valid for that. But ODI cricket is 3D, and test cricket is a ten-dimensional Minkowski space / compactified Calabi–Yau manifold.

    Stokes did precisely nothing wrong. There was literally nothing he could have done to win the match for England. And that’s what T20 is missing.

    1. It would have been better if WI needed 37 off the last over, that would have made it exciting

      1. A couple weren’t a million miles off being yorkers. Yes, he could have bowled a whole series of perfect deliveries, but no-one is especially likely to do that in the final of a world tournament.

      2. Sorry, o’ King. I have been told off twice for this now and have no intention of completing the hat-trick. He bowled magnificently against Sri Lanka and New Zealand and was a major part of us getting to the final, which was a significantly better performance than most thought we’d do. Added to that, what he did in the Ashes last year and his century at Lord’s vs NZ trumps anything he could have done in the Disney Cup that is World T20.

        In other news – Monty’s back! As in… etc, etc… at Northants! Where it all began for him! But he’s having to pay himself, or something?

  2. I may be blind. I’m not sure. The second and third balls of Stokes'(s) last over looked pretty close to blockhole length to me. But online everyone seems to think he was bowling length and/or full tosses. What is the deal with this? I suppose I could just watch the highlights… won’t help much if I actually am blind, though.

    1. At least two of them may or may not have been leg-side filth, but I have the distinct feeling that wherever or whatever he bowled, it would have been clubbed for six. Brathwaite would still be hitting Stokes’s’sss””s bowling for six now if the match hadn’t ended. He probably still is in Stoksies’s nightmares.

    2. Most balls look bad when they’re hit for six. It was way, way more to do with Carlos Brathwaite’s freakish shots than Stokes’ bowling.

  3. The funny thing is, I sort of knew what would happen just before the start of the last over. A lifetime of watching England screw this sort of thing up, the look on Ben stokes’s’s face.. made me think the next three balls would sail off for 6. of course, 999 times out of a 1000 the thing I knew would happen doesn’t, and I forget about it. As feynmann said, I saw a car with the licence plate ARW357. Of all the millions of cars in the state, what were the odds of that?

  4. I am no expert but was Stokesy the right choice for last over ? I wonder if Rashid or Ali could have done any better . All that was needed was slow bowling ,Yorkies Googlies whatever . Well done Windies btw .

    1. Well with hindsight, no, he wasn’t the right choice. But he had been bowling effectively at the death throughout the tournament, so it seemed a perfectly rational decision.

      If Moeen Ali had bowled and been hit for four successive sixes, we could say the same thing.

  5. If we were to replay the Eng vs WI match 50 times, how many times would Eng win? At the moment our best estimate is 0 from 2 but based on the final, the teams are not a million miles apart.

    My biggest bugbear with T20 is that even if an individual match finishes pretty conclusively, it isn’t clear which team was really the best.

    1. Not entirely unrelated note:

      Congratulations to Afghanistan, World T20 Super Champions – conquerors of the Windies, who were mere champions.

      1. And also to England (among others), Grand Super Champions of the World T20 for their vanquishing of the mighty Afghans.

    2. Is our record vs WI in World T20 matches not now 0-5?

      Seems pretty conclusive to me…

      1. And hey, something else we’d do well to remember in all this is that Australia Didn’t Win!

      2. The England brand of 2016 is noticeably better than England brands of previous years, including arguably the year they won the thing, so I think earlier meetings should be downweighted if not discounted. But I do see your point.

        And as for ‘Stralyer, it’s good innit?

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