Wednesday, May 29, 2024

ICC: West Indies use 2016 final for inspiration ahead of England opener

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Photo Credit: ICC

‘Carlos Brathwaite! Remember the name!’

It is a moment of cricket commentary that will go down in history and five years later, the West Indies players have chosen to relive Ian Bishop’s famous line before they meet England on the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup stage once again.

In the 2016 final at Eden Gardens Brathwaite smashed four sixes in a row off the bowling of Ben Stokes in the final over to seal that dramatic victory but it will be left to others to carry the mantle in the opener in Dubai, with the Windies still looking to find their best form after heavy defeats in their two warm-up matches.

And to get themselves into the mood, skipper Kieron Pollard revealed that the team had watched back their World Cup success, even if he does not expect it to have a bearing on the clash with the 50-over world champions.

He said: “In terms of personnel, to say 2016 will have a big impact, I don’t think so. But it will definitely be at the back of their minds, what Carlos did in the four deliveries in the last over is unbelievable.

“As a team we actually saw it last night and it brought goosebumps back to us. For us to be in that situation and get over the line, it shows the never-say-die attitude. As a team, we look forward to trying to replicate winning the entire tournament. Those sorts of moments stick with us.

“Hopefully we can go out and play good cricket so we are in a situation where we are in the final so we can have some memories going forward. but I don’t think it will have much bearing on the game because it’s another game of cricket, that situation was totally different, being a final.”

The loss did not affect England unduly, as they went on to reach the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy a year later before winning the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in 2019 in similarly dramatic fashion.

For skipper Eoin Morgan, there are no scars from the 2016 defeat. Instead it was an opportunity to learn, while that tournament was a turning point for English cricket in his eyes.

He said: “I think that’s the last time that we went into a tournament where we weren’t favourites. This is the next tournament that we’re going in, but obviously we’re second favourites. I would say probably going into 2016 we were more of an afterthought as opposed to considered a genuine side that could or would progress throughout the tournament.

“I mean, if you go back Champions Trophy 2017, 2019 and then now, we’ve made a lot of progress, and guys are proud of the progress but want to continue being contenders when we turn up at a World Cup.

“I think some of the biggest disappointments in any career are more learnings than scars. I think if there were scars we would have lost a lot of players that wouldn’t have progressed like they have done over the last four or five years throughout their careers. I think the development of the side has reinforced that any time we’ve come up against a side that has beaten us in whatever fashion they have, we’ve always looked to learn and progress and become a better side.”

This ICC Men’s T20 World Cup has already thrown up a few surprises, with Scotland topping Group B and Namibia qualifying from Group A.

Despite those upsets, Morgan believes that his team have shown the necessary consistency to be challengers regardless of what sort of game they find themselves in.

He said: “I think probably the last two years in T20 international cricket are probably our most consistent, certainly in my captaincy, or period as captain.

“We’ve shown that we can get 200 or maybe more and also play in a bit of a dogfight game, say 130 or 140 game, and I think the side who adapts to all three venues the best throughout this tournament will go on and win, and I think within our squad we have the ability to do that.

“We obviously have to be on top of our game, adapt well and be confident with it.

“You need to be the smartest, most experienced, most adaptable side in order to do well in the early stages of a tournament.”

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