World Twenty20 review: West Indies win title after enthralling tournament
The World Twenty20 delivered in terms of big hitting, cartwheeling stumps and super overs, writes Matt Cansick
The dust has settled on the fourth edition of the World Twenty20 2012 which saw the West Indies cause an upset against host nation Sri Lanka in the final.
It was a tournament that delivered on the T20 hallmarks of big hitting, cartwheeling stumps and super overs, and concluded with a fascinating showpiece in Colombo.
There has been much talk of a revival in West Indian cricket in the wake of their triumph. The ultimate aim will always be to try and regain former glories, and while this can be viewed as an important step, it is not a fully fledged return to the top table of world cricket.
There is undoubted talent in the squad, as demonstrated at the top of the order by Chris Gayle and Johnson Charles, and there appears to be far more strength throughout their line-up. This has been sorely missed in recent years, as the likes of Shiv Chanderpaul and Dwayne Bravo have carried their side in various formats.
The last Champions Trophy takes place in England next year, followed by the next T20 World Cup in Bangladesh in 2014. This is also where the West Indies will contest their next Test series, and this presents a good opportunity to back up a tournament win with a strong tour.
Australia’s tour of the Caribbean in 2013 will provide a more accurate assessment of where West Indies cricket is as a whole.
Losing finalists Sri Lanka came within one game of delivering a trophy for the home fans, but were undone at the final hurdle.
It represents a fourth defeat in five years in limited overs finals, and while their consistency should be applauded, the senior players within the team – such as outgoing captain Mahela Jayawardere – will be desperate to have something to show for their efforts at the end of their careers.
Despite some encouraging performances, defending champions England never looked like being the team to beat. Lacking their most destructive batsman in Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright and Eoin Morgan did their best to fill the void but struggled to string consecutive innings together.
Winning the 2010 tournament represented a first global title for the England team, and it came at a time when they were looking equally capable in all formats of the game. Fast forward two years, and despite the 50-over side finally starting to establish themselves after years of inconsistency, the Test squad is facing an important 12 months.
The settled squad that has been a hallmark of Andy Flower’s tenure is now having to incorporate a number of new faces, and it will be up to them to prove that the 2010 win was more than a flash in the pan.
A number of players lit up this tournament at various stages, but the award for player of the tournament went to a thoroughly deserving Shane Watson. The Australian topped the run charts with 249, and was an invaluable commodity for his side both with the bat and the ball, second only to Ajantha Mendis in terms of wickets taken.
Gayle and Charles both hit spectacular innings at one point or another, although it was Marlon Samuels who delivered for the West Indies in the final.
Luke Wright’s 99 not out and Brendon McCullum’s record breaking 123 from just 58 were also highlights, as was Lasith Malinga’s five-wicket haul against England in the Super Eights.
This was not a tournament for the smaller cricketing nations, with both Afghanistan and Ireland struggling in their respective groups.
It is worth mentioning that the Irish were not aided by the weather, but despite no longer being classed as minnows when it comes to major tournaments, there is still a little way to go before they can be expected to make an impact on the latter stages.
Few would begrudge the West Indies their moment of glory after so many years, particularly with the manner of their victory, and they have a chance to build on this between now and their defence in 2014.