The West Indies cricket team is the most successful side in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup history, having won the title twice - the most by any team - in 2012 and 2016. They are also one of the nine nations to have played in every edition of the T20 World Cup.

West Indies’ first T20 World Cup success came in 2012 when the men from the Caribbean defeated Sri Lanka by 36 runs to lift the trophy. It was a team filled with superstars of franchise cricket but won the cup on the back of Marlon Samuels’ individual performance in the final.

Samuels ends Windies’ ICC trophy drought

West Indies, who decided to bat first in the 2012 final at R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, started their innings on the back foot. A wicket-maiden first over by Angelo Mathews was followed by Nuwan Kulasekara’s excellent over where he conceded a solitary run.

By the end of their spells, West Indies had scored a mere eight runs and were scoring at a rate of 2 runs per over. Chris Gayle took 16 deliveries just to score three runs and by the end of the 11th over, the team had put 38/2 on the board and were in dire need of some impetus. 

This is when Marlon Samuels upped the ante. It took West Indies more than 11 overs to hit the first six of the innings, but the floodgates opened when Samuels’ first maximum hit the glass panel of the press box at the venue.

From scoring 23 runs off 34 deliveries, Samuels went on to score 59 off 48 balls in just three overs. After Samuels was dismissed on 78, captain Daren Sammy played a 15-ball 26 cameo to take West Indies to 137/6 from 20 overs.

Given the nature of the format, defending the total was going to be difficult but despite an initial struggle,  the West Indies bowlers generated enough momentum to bowl out Sri Lanka for 101. Sunil Narine picked three wickets, Daren Sammy got two and Marlon Samuels picked one while maintaining an economy of 3.75 to bag the Player of the Match award.

“This here (the trophy) is for the Caribbean people. West Indies fans all over the world have been craving success. I know they're partying from Jamaica down to Guyana. And we know how to party. I think they'll need a lot of bartenders," Sammy summed up what the title meant for the team and their fans after the match.

Carlos Brathwaite - ‘Remember the name’

During their second T20 World Cup triumph West Indies’ run to the final of the 2016 T20 World Cup was exhilarating, to say the least. They were in the same group as England, South Africa and Sri Lanka, and finished the group stage above the rest due to a better net run rate.

Much to everyone’s surprise, West Indies eliminated hosts India in a high-scoring semi-final which saw Virat Kohli and Lendl Simmons both scoring above 80 for their respective teams. On the flip side, the other finalists, England, had defeated New Zealand in their semi-final and were favourites to clinch the title.

Thanks to Joe Root’s 36-ball 54, the England cricket team posted a competitive total of 155/9 on the board in the final. For West Indies, it was another slow start in a final after the team lost three wickets in the first three overs and were scoring at a rate of less than five runs per over.

It took time for Marlon Samuels to get into groove, but once he did there was no stopping him. The top-order batsman hit Chris Jordan for three boundaries in four deliveries in the sixth over to get West Indies back on track. The job, however, was far from done as while Samuels was putting runs on the board, others around him fell.

By the end of the 16th over, West Indies were six wickets down and the asking rate had risen to over 11. All-rounder Carlos Brathwaite had just arrived at the crease and England were looking as though they were heading for a win. The Windies needed 19 runs of the final over and luckily for England, the set batsman Samuels - who was unbeaten on 85 - was stuck at the non-striker’s end. 

Little did the English know then that Brathwaite at the striker’s end would be a blessing in disguise for West Indies. Eoin Morgan decided to bring Ben Stokes into attack to defend 19 in the last over of the match. Stokes had conceded 17 off his first two overs and it looked as though he’d get the better of the inexperienced Brathwaite. 

Stokes was expected to defend the total but then the unthinkable unfolded in front of a jam-packed Eden Gardens as Brathwaite etched his name into the history books by powering his team home in a dramatic final over that went as follows:

19.1: Braithwaite leaves the crease and hits Stokes for a six towards deep backward square leg.

19.2: Back-to-back sixes and the crowd goes wild. This one was over long-on.

19.3: Quite a mis-hit but this time it sails over long-off. SIX! The West Indies players can’t believe what’s just happened. One run needed with three balls to go.

19:4: SIX! This went right into the stands at deep midwicket and West Indies are the World T20 Champions for the second time. The crowd witnessed the roar of Carlos Braithwait as he got hugged by Marlon Samuels.

"Carlos Brathwaite! Carlos Brathwaite! Remember the name! History for the West Indies," commentator Ian Bishop said vociferously as West Indies did the impossible.

"I knew if I got it past the field, we were world champions. I watched the ball again and made good contact. Even though the last ball went for six, until the guys told me four sixes is amazing [I didn't know where the ball had ended up]," - said Brathwaite after the winning six.

Featured photo: AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar