A new dawn in the West
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Coming into the final, all the talk was about Chris Gayle and whether the battle between him and Lasith Malinga would decide the course of the match and the destination of the trophy. Or whether the mystery spinners on either side, Sunil Narine and Ajantha Mendis, would make the final their own.
As it happened, Gayle made another laboured knock in the final, this time a 16-ball three and the slinger was slammed for 54 runs in four overs without a wicket. The spinners on the other hand, lived up to the hype. Ajanta Mendis picked up four wickets for twelve runs in his quota of four overs, while Narine conceded nine runs for three wickets, bowling two balls less.
While all these efforts cancelled each other out, the West Indies had one more trump card, in Marlon Samuels.
The Lankan pacers, Angelo Mathews and Nuwan Kulasekara, kept Gayle tied up and Mendis' carrom ball finally put him out of his misery, but West Indies' troubles only grew worse. At the end of six overs of the powerplay, the Windies had lost both openers for 14. With another spinner in Akila Dananjaya joining in, the run rate refused to get up even after the field spread. The first 10 overs went for 32 runs for two wickets. Samuels hit the only boundary in that period, but he would make up for his slow start in spectacular fashion.
To the rescue
Mahela Jayawardene had held back Malinga, and the pacer had three overs left of the eight remaining. When he came back on in the 13th over, Samuels was on 26 runs off 37 balls. The first ball he faced of the over went for a six over deep square leg, the second over extra cover and the fourth, over long on. From the other end Ajanta Mendis sent back Bravo, but Samuels did not seem to mind. Jeevan Mendis bowled the next over and was carted for a six and a four. Then Ajantha Mendis again struck in the next over, taking two in two. Again Samuels retaliated by smashing Malinga for a four and two sixes in the next over. Dananjaya got him in the deep in the next over, but by then Samuels had made 78 off 56, with his last 52 runs coming off just 19 balls.
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