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The odds are on West Indies’ side, but are the gods?

Chris Gayle, West Indies, Darren Sammy, World T20
Despite an expectedly controversial and surprisingly low-key build up to the World Twenty20 tournament, it has taken West Indies all of two games to propel themselves as favourites for the title.

Along with New Zealand they are the only side to win both their opening games, but unlike the Kiwis, they have cruised through both of them. Against England a Chris Gayle century ensured they chased down a large target and claim a comprehensive 6-wicket win while Andre Fletcher anchored the chase against Sri Lanka, scoring 84 in his team’s successful chase of 123.

Along with the two openers, West Indies’ success has been cemented with the performance of their two spinners, Sulieman Benn and Samuel Badree. Benn might not be among the wickets but his bounce has perfectly complimented Badree’s tally of three scalps. Amazingly, both went for less than 3.5 runs per over against Sri Lanka as well. The side from the Caribbean are definitely odds-on favourites to win their second World T20 crown.

However amidst all the fanfare there is a dark cloud that hangs over West Indies’ chances. Chris Gayle suffered a hamstring injury in the match against Sri Lanka. While he seemed to have recovered in time for the second innings, he was not allowed to bat until the fifth wicket fell, to the universal disappointment of the Chinnaswamy Stadium – his ‘home’ Indian Premier League ground.

There was a rather humorous moment when fourth umpire Ian Gould was seen preventing Gayle from stepping on to the field but this only served to turn the crowd in Bengaluru hostile. Chants of “We want Gayle, we want Gayle” echoed around the ground as poor Fletcher’s knock was overshadowed by Gayle’s absence.

Herein lies the problem with West Indies.

They seem, as they always have, a gathering of superstars with Gayle atop the pyramid rather than a collective. They’re good for daily doses of entertainment but are they good enough to go all the way and claim the title? Only time will tell. But for now, they do look the part.

 

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