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You made my night, Gayle!

October 14, 2012

Who broke whose heart? It was the Sri Lankans who broke their own heart. Just 139 to win and the Sri Lankans fell short by 36 runs. And whose fault? The higher they are the harder they fall. The first blow was Dilshan who found a Ram Paul delivery outside the off-stump too hot to handle and had his off-stump doing a calypso. That was one down for six.

At 48, Sangakkara thought victory was round the corner and playing like a batsman almost in indecent hurry was caught in the deep by Pollard off Badree for 22 and Sri Lanka were 48 for 2.

As if it was not enough nature intervened and a few raindrops fell and Jayawardene wanting to hurry things up began playing the shots at which he is almost an expert, the reverse sweep. And he was caught. He probably chose the wrong ball for the reverse sweep. Caught the ball a little too high on the bat and was caught by Sammy of the bowling of Narine for 33. That was the beginning of the end.

Now they were quickly down at 82 for 6 at which juncture Kulasekara gave Sri Lanka some hope with a brave knock of 26 which helped Sri Lanka add some 30 odd runs but he was caught in the deep by Badree off Narine. The last man Malinga was caught by Bravo off Narine for 5 and that was the end of it.

The Sri Lankan card made a dismal reading. Only Sangakkara, Jayawardene and Kulasekara made double figures in the total of 101. That was the end of T20 Championship 2012. The West Indies were by far the better side. They hit more sixes and were too quick on the uptake. The best part of the victory was the merry-making at the end. It was obviously taken over by Gayle who invented his own style of the calypso. It became immensely popular with the rest of the team and many of the Sri Lankan spectators. But here was a man who contributed nothing to the West Indies victory (in final) and yet emerged centre-stage performer.

The West Indies victory owed much to Gayle as a batsman of destructive ability and as a cheer leader. So the West Indies owe Gayle a whole debt of gratitude but for him the team victory might have been there but completely colourless.

One thing more as the Gayle dances come in India or Pakistan they would not have met with general approval. Because here they would have met with an affront to Indo-Pakistan hospitality. So, thank you Gayle and thank you the West Indies for winning T20 World Cup.

The innings of the series was played by Gayle against Australia. Pakistan’s performance against Sri Lanka was comparable to the islander’s own capitulation against the West Indies. This was a sight too much to understand unless Sri Lanka had decided that turning victory into defeat was no longer a Pakistani preserve. So Pakistan don’t have a monopoly of turning victory into defeat.

Perhaps it was a case of jealousy and Jayawardene must have said at the end: look here Pakistan you are not the only one who can savour defeat instead of victory.

I think it’s Chris Gayle who played the innings of the tournament and put Australia in its proper place. If the ICC does not think like that I say to hell with the ICC.

According to press reports Jayawardene has announced his retirement from T20 cricket captaincy. This is how it should have been. It is also a hint to our own captain. Of course he would be younger than Jayawardene but the principle of the thing is to be emulated.