Bravo bowled ‘a champion over’ - Brathwaite
LAUDERHILL, Florida (CMC):
Captain Carlos Brathwaite said he had doubted whether Dwayne Bravo would actually bowl a slower ball for the last delivery of the game, but noted that the all-rounder's audacious move proved he was one of the finest players in the Twenty20 format.
Medium Bravo sent down a brilliant final over to hand West Indies a dramatic one-run victory over India in the opening Twenty20 International of the two-match series at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium here Saturday.
With India needing two runs for victory off the final delivery of the game, the crafty Bravo deceived captain MS Dhoni with a superb slower ball, which the batsman edged to Marlon Samuels at third man.
"Before the final ball, we were just fiddling with fields and wondering if to double bluff or if to just try and stop the two, so Bravo finally decided," Brathwaite recounted afterwards.
"I asked him, 'what's your plan?'. He said, 'a slower ball'. I didn't believe he would bowl a slower ball, but I told him, 'I'm backing you; execute and express yourself' and he came up trumps for us yet again.
"He bowled a champion over, stuck to his guns and bowled a very, very top last delivery to one of the best finishers in world cricket."
He added: "It's always a good feeling just to come out on top and personal performances to help victories is always a treat, but then when you can watch on as someone (Bravo) you look up to and someone that you see perfect their craft at practice day in, day out and you see them come up trumps ... especially with something against the grain like a slower ball, that (puts the performance right up there)."
West Indies were excellent in their turn at the crease, amassing 245 for six after being sent in, with left-handed opener Evin Lewis stroking a Man of the Match even century and partner Johnson Charles getting 79. The pair put on 126 off 57 deliveries for the first wicket.
In reply, India got a brilliant unbeaten 110 from KL Rahul, 62 from Rohit Sharma and 43 not out from Dhoni, but just failed to gather the eight runs required for victory off the last over.
"It's a relief. You always want to get that first win as captain," said Brathwaite, who replaced the World Cup-winning star Darren Sammy at the helm for this series.
"It was a fantastic team effort by the boys. I think that is one of the better T20 games I've ever been a part of and it was a fantastic spectacle. I'm just happy that my first game (as captain) could be memorable, but more important that we came out on top."
Brathwaite said West Indies were looking to build on these successes and had their sights firmly set on the number one ranking.
"I'm just thankful we came out on the right end ... and now we're here to defend that and show we are number one in the world and show why we are," he said.
"The rankings say we're number three and the plan is for us to go out tomorrow and give another big effort for the last, go two-nil up, win the series and get promoted to number two in the rankings.