Carlos Brathwaite, the West Indies No 8 batsman, smashed four successive sixes off Ben Stokes to win the World T20 title by four wickets in Kolkata.
England looked hosed and dry with West Indies needing 19 off the last over. They entrusted that vital over to Ben Stokes, who, you may remember, went for 42 off three overs the last time these teams met, in the first match of their group.
With four sweeping strokes, Brathwaite turned the match on its head.
For 19 overs, England had been in command. Even though they had been restricted to 155-9, they kept the bowling tight and West Indies, initially offered a run rate of 7.75, fell further and further behind. Until that final over.
Having seen the effect of the slow ball, England took a chance in putting Joe Root on in the second over with his part-time off-spin. In 19 matches he has bowled only 60 balls, but never more effectively than this: by the end of the over he had 2-9, both Johnson Charles (1) and Chris Gayle (4) being caught in the deep off fairly innocuous deliveries.
David Willey then picked up Lendl Simmons lbw (0) and the Windies were in deep trouble at 3-11 off 15 balls.
Brathwaite was working off a base provided by Marlon Samuels, the beneficiary of a controversial call when the TMO decided that Jos Buttler had not taken a clean catch when he was on 27 and the score on 37-3. He went on to 85 off 66 (9×4, 2×6), but for much of the game, there was no one prepared to stand with him.
When Dwayne Bravo (25 off 27) skied one off Adil Rashid, the fourth-wicket partnership had yielded 75 runs, but they had eaten up 69 balls. The run-rate was nearing 12.
Willey, who had conceded three runs from his first two overs, returned to remove Andre Russell (1), to an excellent catch by Stokes, and Darren Sammy (2) to a more simple effort. All looked good. Enter Brathwaite. His 34 came off 10 balls; 24 of them off four consecutive Ben Stokes deliveries.
There were interesting parallels in the innings: having been sent in to bat, England had struggled to 33-3 in the powerplay. Joe Root (54) and Buttler (36) put on 61 for the fourth wicket and looked to be accelerating, when Buttler, having struck three sixes, went for one too many.
England’s cause was dealt a hammer blow when they lost three wickets within five balls. First Stokes (13) ballooned a catch to point off Dwayne Bravo, followed two balls later by Moeen Ali (0), caught behind. Another two balls later Root bizarrely tried to ramp Brathwaite, only to be taken at short fine leg. They lacked the firepower to raise the rate above 7.75.
♦Earlier in the day, the West Indies women ended Australia’s dominance of the tournament by chasing down a total of 148, thanks to Hayley Matthews (66 off 45) and Stafanie Taylor (59 off 57) in a partnership of 120.