New Zealand 291 for 8 (Williamson 148, Cottrell 4-56) beat West Indies 286 (Brathwaite 101, Gayle 87, Hetmyer 54, Boult 4-30) by 5 runs
Carlos Brathwaite made the Windies fans sing, dance, rejoice and most importantly, HOPE. An innings straight from the top drawer had everyone reminiscing about the World T20 final in 2016 when he got his team over the line thanks to some big hits against Ben Stokes. The agonisingly fine margin of two metres, one mishit and five runs could close the World Cup portal for Windies this year in arguably the most memorable game of the tournament yet.
Windies won the toss and captain Jason Holder sent in the Kiwis in to bat. Sheldon Cottrell sent the Windies fans into early celebrations by picking up the two Kiwi openers for golden ducks. Interestingly, Cottrell joins an elite club of removing both the openers for a golden duck, only previously held by another West Indies fast bowler in Fidel Edwards. The first one to go was Martin Guptill, dismissed LBW off a swinging Cottrell yorker that seemed to crash into the leg stump. The other opener, Munro’s wicket was a fast bowler’s delight. A late in-swinging Yorker that demolished the stumps, leaving the batsman looking sheepish.
It then took a massive rebuilding effort from the Kiwi captain, Kane Williamson, to put New Zealand back on track. Ross Taylor and Williamson’s 160 run partnership steadied the ship for New Zealand until the Universe Boss decided to step in and take the matters in his own hands to dismiss Taylor. Latham was picked up cheaply by Cottrell, for his third wicket of the day, after the Kiwi left-hander mishit a not-so-short delivery that looped back to the bowler. Williamson batted brilliantly for a career best 148.
It was Cottrell who got Williamson, this time picking up the Kiwi captain with a bouncer that landed in the deep mid-wicket fielder’s hands. Brathwaite’s incredible run-out off his own bowling to dismiss Colin de Grandhomme was his last part in what was an imposing display by the fast bowler. The Kiwis managed to put 291 on the board.
Similar to the Kiwi innings, Windies lost two early wickets in Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran. However, the Universe Boss rode his luck and had three reprieves, two off the same bowler, Mitch Santner. Matt Henry and Colin Munro dropped fairly straight forward catches at deep mid-wicket allowing the Windies opener to make his tournament best 87 off 84 deliveries. Windies surely looked down and out at 7/164, still needing 127 runs.
Carlos Brathwaite took West Indies to the edge of victory, smashing nine boundaries and five sixes to take Windies to touching distance. He batted supremely well, making sure not to expose the tail-enders and taking the strike on every opportunity. He hit three sixes and a four off Matt Henry’s over leaving the Windies needing just eight runs off the last two. Facing Jimmy Neesham in the penultimate over, Brathwaite was waiting for that one delivery to tee off Windies to glory, however, a mistimed a pull that seemed to sail over the ropes before Trent Boult plucked it from the air, just two metres from the boundary rope. A great effort, nevertheless, by the big man went in vain, Windies lost by an agonising margin of five runs in a match that will be remembered for years to come.