What if Brathwaite’s Dream Was NOT Diminished?
Today’s Scenario: Brathwaite’s Dream
Carlos Brathwaite Keeps West Indies’ Dream Alive.
At the 2019 Cricket World Cup (CWC) held in England, all 10 teams played against each other. In the 29th match at Manchester, New Zealand faced the mighty West Indies. Until that point of the tournament, West Indies had won 1, lost 3, and 1 no-result. New Zealand, on the other hand, were unbeaten with 4 wins and 1 no-result. With each team having 4 games in hand, the tournament was still wide open.
Chasing 291, West Indies collapsed to 164-7.
Comes in Carlos Brathwaite. Remember his name? Braithwaite and the tail launches a remarkable comeback. Twists and turns, wickets fall, spectators at the edge of their seats.
Brathwaite hits 3 consecutive sixes in the 48th over. Brathwaite scores his maiden ODI century. Brathwaite can do no wrong.
Brathwaite’s dream is alive. One wicket left, West Indies need 6 off 7 balls, Brathwaite on strike. Surely, it is their game now…
What Actually Happened:
The dynamic duo of Brathwaite and commentator, Ian Bishop, from that 2016 T20 World Cup final are back together. Jimmy Neesham runs it and bowls a short ball, Brathwaite heaves, and Trent Boult is near the boundary. (Yes, the same Trent Boult who would later do this in the Final). All you can see is the ball in the blue sky.
Ball comes down. Gravity happens. Boult catches it. West indies 286-10. New Zealand win with an over to spare.
Ian Bishop exclaims, “New Zealand win! The dream is diminished for Carlos Brathwaite here in Manchester!”
This is the turning point of the tournament. New Zealand go to the top the table. They qualify for the semi finals due to net run-rate despite losing 3 against Pakistan, England, and Australia. West Indies lose momentum and would eventually crash out at 9th place.
If Carlos Brathwaite had managed to hit the ball a yard further, or if Boult had lost his balance, what would have happened?
48.6 – Neesham to Brathwait, SIX!
Has he done it? Yes! Boult tips the ball over the boundary at long on for six. West Indies wins.
West Indies wins, joins the middle-muddle in the Points Table, and sprints to the semi-finals. New Zealand lose momentum and fail to qualify for the semi-finals.
It is England vs West Indies in the finals. Stokes batting vs Brathwaite bowling final over—a reversal of fortunes from 2016. Stokes attempts to take his revenge. 15 needed from 6.
49.1 – Six, 49.2 – Six. He wants to finish with 3 sixes and complete the revenge.
49.3 – OUT! One shot too many. Still 3 needed from 3.
49.4 – 1, 49.5 – 0, 49.6 – Run OUT!
West Indies win by one run! West Indies have won by the barest of margins. By the barest of all margins.
Brathwaite’s dream is realized. Carlos Brathwaite is the Man of the Match. He is hailed as the best all-rounder of the century. Stokes is dropped from the England squad. Eoin Morgan plays out the rest of his career for Ireland.
Jofra Archer returns to the Barbados. He spearheads the West Indies attack.
West Indies returns to its glory days.
Inspired by Conversations with Vandit Trivedi and ESPNCricinfo’s Alternate Universe series.
Sources: ESPNCricinfo (scorecards), Youtube (videos)
Image Courtesy of David Molloy photography from Sydney, Australia / CC BY creative commons license, some rights reserved.