Captain: Darren Sammy
2007 – Lost both matches, exit in Group Stage
2009 – Lost to Sri Lanka in the semis
2010 – Crashed out in the Super 8s at home
2012 – Won the World Cup defeating hosts Sri Lanka in final
2014 – Lost to Sri Lanka in the semis
After Sri Lanka, the West Indies T20 side has been one of the strongest and most consistent international sides in this format. Many remember how Chris Gayle began the inaugural World Cup (2007) with a century against South Africa (which WI then lost), but they only started warming up to T20s in 2009, after which their “mercenary” players conquered almost every T20 domestic league in the world. Players like Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Gayle and Dwayne Smith have lit up editions everywhere, and they reached their absolute peak when they defeated the mighty Lankans in the 2012 final in Colombo, defending a paltry total. Marlon Samuels’ innings, followed by the team’s ‘Gangnam Dance’ (or something like it) will forever be remembered as cricket’s more joyous moments.
They haven’t played much since their semis run in the 2014 World Cup, but they enter every T20 series as favorites. They have defeated South Africa in South Africa in this format, and on their day, they can defeat India in India too. Their squad reads like an All-Star T20 XI, with the best of the best – considering they only apply their minds to playing 20 good overs even in ODIs and Tests. Read this: Gayle, Darren Sammy, Bravo, Andre Fletcher, Jason Holder, Denesh Ramdin, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Samuel Badree and Jerome Taylor. On their own, even their bench can destroy most first-choice sides. They are very dangerous. They find themselves favorites in the group with Sri Lanka, England, South Africa and a qualifier.
Did I not mention the names? With Gayle, Simmons, Samuels and Bravo in the top order, what more do you need? If they fail, there’s Russell, Holder and Ramdin too. I don’t see how they’ll score less than 180 every game. Even their bowling – bolstered by Taylor, Badree, Benn, Holder, Russell and Brathwaite – isn’t to be taken lightly. They look like a team created to play only T20 cricket – nothing more, nothing less. This is their destiny, and only a fool would look past them in the knockouts.
There’s no Sunil Narine again – arguably the best T20 bowler, and there’s no Kieron Pollard, arguably the fiercest hitter in T20 cricket. West Indies will miss Pollard in an overcrowded middle order, and notably, they will miss his T20 experience. Badree and Benn will have to fill the boots of Narine, and they will also miss the stability that Darren Bravo lends them in the middle order.
They will most likely top their group, win their semis and face India in the final. After that, it’s anybody’s game.