Carlos Brathwaite’s assault against New Zealand in Manchester seemed like a throwback to his 2016 T20 World Cup final heroics in Kolkata, except that this time, the valiant effort ended with a heartbreaking loss. Andrew Alderson revisits the breathtaking thriller in the 2020 Wisden Almanack.
New Zealand v West Indies
Match 29, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Old Trafford, Manchester
June 22, 2019
A couple of feet made all the difference. With West Indies needing six to win, Carlos Brathwaite was caught at long-on by Boult from the last ball of the penultimate over, bowled by Neesham, who had conjured up four dots from the first five deliveries. Neesham knew the ball hadn’t quite been middled, because “it makes a distinct sound when the West Indians do that”.
Brathwaite thought he had enough on it, before sinking to his knees, and being consoled by the New Zealanders, led by Taylor; even a maiden international century could not make up for the near miss. “Inches away from being Colossus Brathwaite,” said broadcaster Alan Wilkins.
He had rebuilt his side’s hopes after the loss of five for 22 in 29 balls, then scored all 41 in a tenth-wicket partnership with Thomas, who faced just four. The 48th over looked to have swung the match in West Indies’ favour: Henry couldn’t find his length as Brathwaite, evoking memories of his last-over assault on Ben Stokes in the 2016 World T20 final, crunched 25, including three successive sixes. (Next day he enquired via Twitter where he could get a bat fixed in Manchester.)
New Zealand had fought back, too, after losing both openers for golden ducks to Cottrell. The nerveless Williamson responded with 148, his 13th and highest ODI century, taking his sequence between dismissals to 333, and putting on 160 for the third wicket with Taylor.
As West Indies set about chasing 292, Boult removed Hope and Pooran for a single apiece, before Gayle, who biffed six sixes in his 87, and Hetmyer added 122. But at 164 for seven, West Indies seemed out of it. Then came Brathwaite.
First published in the 2020 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack