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Decade in review

Men’s T20I innings of the decade, No.1: Carlos Brathwaite, remember the name

Carlos Brathwaite
by Yas Rana
@Yas_Wisden 5 minute read

Carlos Brathwaite’s unforgettable 10-ball assault on Ben Stokes and co. was voted the Wisden T20I innings of the decade.

Carlos Brathwaite 34 runs (10 balls, 1 four, 4 sixes)
England v West Indies
Kolkata

World T20 Final
April 3, 2016

The innings

Carlos Brathwaite! Carlos Brathwaite! Remember the name! History for the West Indies.”

If you had no idea who Carlos Brathwaite was, you’d think from Ian Bishop’s iconic piece of commentary that a precociously talented young kid had just announced their arrival on the world stage. When football commentator Clive Tyldesley used the same ‘remember the name’ refrain in 2002, he was referring to a 16-year-old Wayne Rooney who had just scored a 30-yard last minute winner against the best team in the land. The underlying assumption in asking someone to ‘remember the name’ is that the people they’re asking don’t remember it yet.

Going into the 2016 World T20 Final, Carlos Brathwaite was a 27-year-old all-rounder who in 14 international white-ball games spread over the course of a five-year period, had neither passed 20 nor taken more than two wickets in an innings. In that final, he took 3-23 from his four overs and blasted 34 off 10 balls (including 24 off his final four balls) to sensationally bring home the title for the West Indies.

It would be fair to argue that an innings that was just 10 balls in length shouldn’t even be in the discussion when deciding the innings of the decade. But in T20I cricket over the last 10 years, no innings has been so clinically brutal when it mattered most.

Coming in at the business end of the run chase, West Indies required 39 runs off 21 balls when Brathwaite faced his first delivery. Brathwaite nails a decent wide yorker first up but a tidy piece of fielding restricts him to just one. Brathwaite’s partner Marlon Samuels – who would ultimately pick up the Player of the Match award – had held the innings together until that point and without whom West Indies wouldn’t even be in with a sniff but with the stakes at their highest point, was struggling to get the ball away.

35 required off 16. Facing David Willey, who had figures of 3.2-0-12-3 up until that point, Brathwaite heaves one over cover but another good piece of fielding deprives Brathwaite of a boundary. 33 off 15. Brathwaite can then only muster a single off his third ball at the crease. With 31 needed off 13 and the tournament rapidly falling away from West Indies’ grasp, Brathwaite brilliantly scoops the last ball of Willey’s spell for four. West Indies are still just about in the contest.

Brathwaite faces just two deliveries in the penultimate over of the innings and only manages a pair of singles. 19 required off the final over. You know the rest.

As much as you can point to Stokes’ relative poor execution in that final over and his reluctance to vary his length, few batsmen ever punish a bowler so emphatically, let alone in the last over of a World Cup final. The first and second balls of the over pitch on a near identical spot full on a leg stump line, yet are essentially dispatched to different postcodes. The first, way over deep fine leg, the second, 20 rows back over long on. Two maximums later and West Indies were world champions. In the blink of an eye, a late-20s journeyman had become a national hero. It’s safe to say we’ve all remembered the name.

The ball

It’s a tough ask distinguishing between any of the four sixes in the final over, so instead let’s focus on the scoop off Willey’s final delivery. Brathwaite might have used every fibre of his considerable muscle mass in those last four balls, but off the final delivery of the 18th over, he exhibited impressive poise and a clear head. With Willey nailing his yorkers under pressure, Brathwaite took the bold but necessary move to shuffle across his stumps and ramp Willey for four much needed runs. Without deciding to play that shot and without executing it to perfection, would we even have had the last over theatrics?

Wisden’s decade in review series is brought to you in association with Perry, designers of distinctive club blazers made in Yorkshire since 1946.

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