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CARIBBEAN - cricket - ICC Champions Trophy

West Indies Captain Brian Lara holding the ICC Champions Trophy.

High Windies - Sunday 26, September-2004

West Indies Captain Brian Lara holding the ICC Champions Trophy.

The brilliance and passion of West Indies cricket returned to the field yesterday as Brian Lara’s side clinched one of the game’s biggest prizes.
Facing the old enemy England before a sell-out crowd at The Oval, London, and another 100 million watching on TV, Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw combined for one of the best partnerships in Caribbean cricket history as the side won the epic contest by two wickets.

Players and supporters celebrated the first major international tournament victory since the 1979 World Cup.

It brought joy to the hearts of West Indian people all over the world as the team pocketed $600 000 for the win and over $1 million in the two-week competition.

New WI heroes - Sunday 26, September-2004

West Indies batsmen Ian Bradshaw (left) and Courtney Browne celebrating winning the ICC Champions Trophy One-Day cricket final against England, yesterday. West Indies batsmen Ian Bradshaw (left) and Courtney Browne celebrating winning the ICC Champions Trophy One-Day cricket final against England, yesterday.

by HAYDN GILL in London

WEST INDIES’ thrilling victory yesterday in the International Cricket Council Champions Trophy meant the world to the five million people of the Caribbean.

To the just over quarter- million people here in Barbados, though, it meant something special that it was two Bajans who led the team home in glorious style.

And Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw, the two men who orchestrated a sensational fightback, never once doubted they would pull it off. They used their nerves of steel to transform an almost hopeless position into a tense two-wicket victory with seven balls to spare.

“I never panicked. For the whole tournament, I have been telling the young boys and the whole team not to panic in a situation,” Browne told the SUNDAY SUN. “If I’m going to preach that, I have to live it.”

When Bradshaw joined him, West Indies were 147 for eight in the 34th over after England set them a target of 218 from 50 overs.

Browne and Bradshaw showed level heads to feature in a record wicket West Indies ninth wicket partnership of 71.

“I never doubted Braddie’s ability as a batsman. There are some people in Barbados who feel that Bradshaw can bat better than he can bowl,” Browne said.

“I said to Ian when he came in to bat, once we can see the good bowlers off when they come back, we’ll win this game. “Once we bat 16 overs, we will win this game. When it got rough for me, he spoke to me. When it got rough for him, I spoke to him. It was beautiful. Everything went to plan.” Browne finished with 35 off 55 balls and Bradshaw made 34 from 51 balls and also took two wickets to win the Man-Of-The-Match award.

“When I went out there to bat, I knew I was batting with the last recognised batsman,” Bradshaw said. “I knew my role was to support him. Once I stayed with him, we had enough balls to win the game.”

After 43 overs, Browne and Bradshaw turned down an offer to go off for fading light with West Indies still 35 runs away from the target.

“We had momentum at that stage,” Bradshaw said.

“We didn’t want to come back tomorrow [today]. They would be fresh with new ideas.”

At the end, Bradshaw displayed the type of emotion you hardly ever see from him, punching the air with his fist on several occasions and sliding to the turf as he headed back to meet his joyous teammates


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  Glory day - Sunday 26, September-2004

beating England in the ICC Champions Trophy yesterday. HEAD OVER HEELS: West Indies playerscelebrating on the outfield at the Oval after beating England in the ICC Champions Trophy yesterday.

by HAYDN GILL in London
UNBEARABLE tension, fluttering heartbeats and emotions running high.

Uncontrollable celebrations, the jubilant waving of almost every single Caribbean flag and champagne flowing like water.

Smiles as wide as London Bridge.

We could go on and on.

It was almost unbelievable.

West Indies’ cricketers, battered and bruised in the past five years, yesterday scaled heights not reached since the halcyon days of the 1970s and 1980s.

Their capture of the International Cricket Council Champions Trophy, the first global title by a West Indies team since Clive Lloyd’s men lifted the 1979 World Cup, transformed two months of a depressing, despondent English summer into euphoric revelry with a most stunning fightback, orchestrated by two Barbadians who know how to turn arounddesperate situations.

To tell you that the West Indies beat England by two wickets with seven balls to spare just won’t capture the tantalizing drama that unfolded at the Oval.

Nor can it tell you what this triumph means to the players, supporters and everyone in the Caribbean.

“It’s a great achievement for a team that has been under a lot of pressure,” captain Brian Lara said afterwards. “The guys showed a lot of character. It augurs well for the future.

“It’s also an opportunity for the people in the Caribbean, wherever they are, whatever mood theyare in, because of the stress there. It is an opportunity for everybody to rejoice. Hopefully, it will helptheir psyche.”

At 147 for eight in pursuit of 218, West Indies were staring at defeat by an England side seeking to climax a sensational summer.

Writers in the Press Box had already started the script of a famous England victory. They had to start all over again after West Indies triumphed in fading light.

Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw, twolevel-headed players whose reputations in crises are well documented at the regional level, reversed a seemingly hopeless situation with a match-winning record, unbroken ninth-wicket partnership of 71 in which the tension grew as the West Indies engineered their revival.

During its course, the two heroic batsmen turned down an offer to go off for fading light, bent on accomplishing their mission.

It was ended by a square-drive from Bradshaw which, before many had realised, had sailed past the backward point boundary rope.

It triggered an instant sprint to the middle by his teammates beyond the ropes.

“I am so proud of this group of guys,” Lara said.

“We’ve been battered, not just on the field, but by the media and a lot of people. We showed a lot of character. It could serve for something really great.”

As the winning shot crossed the boundary, Bradhaw, still on one knee, clenched his fist and punched the air several times.

He headed for the pavilion, skidded to the turf and Browne and he were immediately engulfed byfrenzied teammates.

This was a moment they and all West Indians will remember for a long time.

Compliments of the Nation News


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