The West Indians celebrate with the Champions Trophy © Getty Images
The West Indians celebrate with the Champions Trophy © Getty Images

September 25, 2004. The format of the tournament did not undergo a change since the previous edition in 2002. With the original concept of hosting the tournament beyond the Test-playing arena, ICC chose England — the first country to host the World Cup — as the venue. Not only did England reach the final, they also looked like winning it — till West Indies unearthed two unlikely heroes. Abhishek Mukherjee looks back.

By 2004, the Champions Trophy had been accepted as a biennial event; and a major one too: it was the second-most important limited-overs tournament in international cricket. Things would change with the advent of World T20, but that was still three years down the line.

After the 2002 edition in Sri Lanka, it was evident that the non-Test-playing nations would not host the event anytime soon. ICC chose England, who had hosted the first three editions of the World Cup.

The ten Test-playing nations were all invited, as were Kenya, who had ODI status (and were semi-finalists in the World Cup the year before). Zimbabwe cricket had received major setbacks, and things would only get worse from 2005. However, as things stood, Zimbabwe were one of only four sides to have made it to the Super Sixes in both the 1999 and 2003 World Cups.

The twelfth team was a curious entry. Six months before the Champions Trophy, UAE hosted the ICC Six Nations Challenge. It featured five teams that already played World Cup cricket (Scotland, Namibia, Netherlands, UAE, and Canada). Surprisingly, the sixth side — USA — won the trophy. They were yet to have a single ODI under their belt.

However, there were obvious issues to be addressed. Having one ordinary side (Zimbabwe were on the slide, as mentioned) in each three-team group meant that 2 out of 3 matches in that group were expected to be one-sided.

It also came at the end of a typically long British summer, which meant that crowd had had enough of cricket. The football season had started, and there was really no reason for the media to ignore football and cover Kenya being thrashed by Pakistan in the wet gloom of Edgbaston.

One must also remember that T20s were already being played in England at this point. It did not help that it was a wet September — though, to be fair, ICC had done away with the concept of rematches. In case of a match not being decided, the match would resume the day after — as it happened in 3 of the 15 matches in the tournament.

The tournament unfolded as expected, with one-sided matches played out in empty stadia. It turned out to be disastrous. Matthew Engel, no less, did not attempt to be polite in the Notes by the Editor section in Wisden: “The 2004 Champions Trophy was a terrible idea from the start, a turkey of a tournament. It deserves to be ranked … in the list of the Great Sporting Fiascos of our time.”

The security checks bordered on the lines of the ridiculous. In fact, they were not security checks at all: the personnel simply made sure the spectators did not carry anything of a rival brand (ambush marketing, intentional or otherwise) of one of the sponsors.

Martin Williamson recollected in ESPNCricinfo, where a gateman at Southampton helped a spectator “pour unauthorised cola into an empty bottle of the approved brand so it could be admitted.”

But perhaps the most outrageous incident was the fact that official England jerseys were not up for sale at the ground: after all, they spotted the Vodafone logo, and Hutch was an ICC sponsor.

The tournament was scheduled over 16 days at three grounds — Edgbaston, The Oval, and The Rose Bowl.

Pool A

Unfortunately for USA, they ran into Nathan Astle (145) and Scott Styris (75), who smashed them to pulp amidst gloom and on an outfield that was probably too wet for strokeplay. Astle solved that by hitting 6 sixes. USA tried hard, reducing New Zealand to 43 for 2, and later, 211 for 4 in the 43rd over.

Then Craig McMillan thrashed them around with an unbeaten 64 in 27. Never bothering to pierce the outfield, McMillan hit 7 sixes including 3 in an over from Howard Johnson. The first 7.4 overs saw 136 being scored. New Zealand amassed 347 for 4.

Rohan Alexander and Mark Johnson then got USA to a 52-run stand in 55 balls. However, Nos. 3 to 5 all scored ducks and lasted 5 balls between them. USA lost 4 for 3 in 7 balls, and were bowled out for 137 with Jacob Oram taking 5 for 36 and Daniel Vettori 3 for 14.

The highest score of the innings came from Clayton Lambert (39). This would be Lambert’s last ODI. Lambert had earlier featured in the final of the 1998 ICC Knockout — for West Indies. He became the first to play Champions Trophy for two countries.

While the Americans enjoyed their first day out at the big stage, the spectators certainly did not. The attendance was about “a few hundred”. Williamson mentions being asked by an American friend: “If this is a premier global tournament, why doesn’t anyone care?”

A year before the tournament, Australia had won a World Cup without losing a single match. Their match against USA was expected to be a mismatch, but what if the Australia-New Zealand match was washed out? To avoid that Australia needed to win the match and a net run rate superior to New Zealand’s.

The best way to do this was to bowl first, and Ricky Ponting duly won the toss. The slow Rose Bowl outfield prevented USA from scoring quickly. USA were skittled out for 65 in 24 overs. Steve Massiah got 23 of these, but more crucially, he was the only one caught by an outfielder. Once Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath softened them up, Michael Kasprowicz (4 for 14) and Jason Gillespie (4 for 15) did the rest.

Australia lost Hayden but chased down the target in 47 balls. The match was over in 2 hours 44 minutes. Despite winning the match (with the desired net run rate net), Ponting could not help but “broke with the usual protocol and questioned whether ‘this is the place for sides like the USA [new inductees to cricket] to play’.”

This photograph from the Australia vs USA match summed up the tournament more than any other. Four security personnel, four spectators, 164 minutes of cricket © Getty Images
This photograph from the Australia vs USA match summed up the tournament more than any other. Four security personnel, four spectators, 164 minutes of cricket © Getty Images

Of course, Australia need not have worried. They pushed away New Zealand in the ‘big match’ of Pool A. Glenn McGrath and Kasprowicz took 3 wickets each. There were 3 ducks in New Zealand’s painstaking innings of 198 for 9. And even that took some effort after they were 79 for 7.

A burly, muscular youngster had stridden out at that point. He added 45 with Chris Harris and 68 with Vettori, and top-scored himself, with 47. More would be heard of Brendon McCullum over the next decade, and beyond.

In response, Adam Gilchrist fell early before Hayden and Ponting steadied ship. Andrew Symonds joined Damien Martyn at this stage. Australia did not lose another wicket: Martyn’s 60 took him 71 balls, but he was paled by Symonds, whose 71 came from 47.

The match got over in the 38th over, but there was little interest left in the match after those early wickets in the New Zealand innings. However, some excitement was caused when a group of drunk spectators invaded the pitch and had an altercation with security guards.

In the post-match conference Stephen Fleming admitted that “Australia are favourites”.

Pool B

Bangladesh would stun the world by beating Australia the following summer — that too in England — but they were yet to reach there. They were shot out for 93 at Edgbaston by the South African fast bowlers. Of the 79 runs that came from the bat, 19-year-old Nafees Iqbal (elder brother of Tamim) got 40, that too in 59 balls. South Africa won in the 18th over.

However, there was a little bit of history for them: Habibul Bashar’s injury led to Rajin Saleh being appointed as stand-in captain; at 20 years 297 days he became the youngest ODI captain.

Chris Gayle fell one short of a hundred in Bangladesh’s next match. He added 192 for the opening stand with Wavell Hinds (82). Others contributed as well, including Brian Lara (who smashed a 7-ball 20 before being brilliantly run out by Tapash Baisya); unfortunately, all that happened in front of sparsely populated stands.

West Indies posted 269 for 3. Then Mervyn Dillon reduced Bangladesh to 5 for 29, taking 4 of them himself. He finished with 5 for 29 as Bangladesh were skittled out for 131.

The big match of the group, however, lived up to expectations. South Africa rode on Herschelle Gibbs’ 101 to reach 246 for 6. They should have got more, but Gayle fired his flat off-breaks to take out Gibbs, Graeme Smith, and Jacques Rudolph — the three highest scorers.

When they asked him about his preparations before the innings, he responded with “I had a pizza for the first time in a few months … It was washed down with a bit of Jack Daniels.”

The reserve day was put to good use, for West Indies had only 6 overs to bat that evening. They lost Gayle and Hinds by the time they reached 33. Then Ramnaresh Sarwan came to the fray with 75, while Lara played a few sparkling shots in his 49.

But it was really Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s focused, clinical 52-ball unbeaten 51 that did the trick. He ran hard with Sarwan, not losing a wicket yet making sure the asking rate never soared.

With 31 to get off 24 balls, Ricardo Powell swatted two consecutive full-tosses from Shaun Pollock for sixes over mid-wicket. Pollock conceded 19 in that over. Chanderpaul finished things off in the 49th with consecutive fours.

Pool C 

This was the group where both India and Pakistan were placed. Before that, however, both sides had to play Kenya. As always, India drew crowds (noisy ones, too: “klaxons and hooters blared incessantly,” reported Wisden), who grew increasingly impatient as the Kenyans stuck to a good line and length.

After 18 overs the score read 68 for 1. Then Sourav Ganguly (90) and VVS Laxman (79) accelerated, and after 43 overs India reached 213. They finished with 290 for 4 as Mohammad Kaif and Rahul Dravid exploded in a flurry of boundaries, scoring 79 in 45 balls between them.

Kenya were reduced to 74 for 6 in no time before debutant Morris Ouma (49) and Brijal Patel (41*) showed enough gumption to take them to 192 for 7.

They started well against Pakistan. In fact, Kenya seemed like gaining momentum at 67 for 1 with Kennedy Otieno and Ouma both looking solid. Sixty-two balls and 27 runs later they were all out: Shahid Afridi took 5 for 11 and Shoaib Malik 3 for 15.

Yasir Hameed and Imran Farhat polished off 70 of the 95 runs Pakistan needed. They eventually won in the 19th over.

As always, India versus Pakistan encounters attracted a full house. In fact, according to Wisden, £35 tickets were sold for as much as £150 on black-market. There were expectations from both groups of fans: on one hand, Pakistan had never beaten India in an ICC Trophy (they had lost in the 1992, 1996, 1999, and 2003 World Cups); on the other, Pakistan won the last two matches between the sides.

Inzamam-ul-Haq held back Shoaib Akhtar, letting Mohammad Sami and Naved-ul-Hasan share the new ball under windy, overcast conditions. It worked: Ganguly, Laxman, and Sehwag were all back by the time the score reached 28. Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, or Rohan Gavaskar did not last long either (Shoaib took the first two in 4 balls), and all seemed lost at 106 for 6.

But Pakistan still had to contend with Dravid. And as Dravid grafted out at one end, unexpected aid came from the other: Ajit Agarkar played some exhilarating strokes in his 50-ball 47 (the most astonishing being a pulled six off Afridi) as Dravid was content to rotate strike for his 68.

But Pakistan hit back: the last 4 Indian wickets fell in 18 balls for 12 runs, Naved and Shoaib sharing 2 each. In the end Naved finished with 4 for 25 and Shoaib with 4 for 36. India were bowled out for 200; and Shoaib had redeemed himself after being hit around in the 2003 World Cup match.

This time it was Irfan Pathan’s turn to strike: Farhat, Malik, and Hameed were all back with 27 on the board. The time called for resurrection, and Inzamam and Yousuf Youhana did precisely that: both were exquisite strokeplayers while neither had any reputation for running hard; so they waited for the loose deliveries, and when they came, they dispatched them easily.

The 75-run partnership steadied ship before Inzamam perished, courtesy the heroes of the Indian innings: caught Dravid bowled Agarkar. Then Abdul Razzaq chopped one on to the stumps, while Yuvraj caught Moin Khan brilliantly at point. Pakistan needed 49 from 58 balls, but they were 6 down.

Then, in the 43rd over, Afridi unleashed a ferocious hook and lofted one over mid-wicket, both off Irfan, both for six. He eventually fell to Yuvraj for a 12-ball 25, but by then the damage had already been done. Youhana made sure there was no further hiccup, and India were knocked out in the final over of the chase.

There were several quality performances in the India-Pakistan clash, but the finest came from Yousuf Youhana © Getty Images
There were several quality performances in the India-Pakistan clash, but the finest came from Yousuf Youhana © Getty Images

Pool D

A depleted Zimbabwe was not expected to do well against England and Sri Lanka. A mere 3,000 (“almost certainly the lowest crowd ever to attend an England one-day international at home,” as Wisden reported) turned up at Edgbaston for the opening day of the tournament.

ICC President Ehsan Mani was booed as he shook hands with cricketers, delaying the start of the match in the process. Tinashe Panyangara set the tone of the tournament with 7 wides in the first over. It rained in phases. England ended the day at 198 for 5. And not even a thousand turned up on the reserve day.

Zimbabwe did have their moments, but that was about it. Paul Collingwood (80*) and Vikram Solanki (62) took England to 299 for 7. Then Darren Gough and Steve Harmison left them reeling at 26 for 4. Tatenda Taibu (40) and Elton Chigumbura (42*) showed some gumption, but 147 was all they managed.

Nuwan Zoysa (3 for 19) and Farveez Maharoof (3 for 38) then restricted Zimbabwe to 191. At one stage they were 85 for 7, and had Elton Chigumbura not got 57, they would have scored much less.

Sri Lanka soon became 10 for 2. The middle-order resisted, with everyone from Nos. 3 to 8 scoring between 20 and 43. Chigumbura got Saman Jayantha, Marvan Atapattu, and Mahela Jayawardene to win the Man of the Match award, but Sri Lanka won with over 6 overs in hand.

The England-Sri Lanka match was mostly about Andrew Flintoff. True, Marcus Trescothick scored 68, but it was really Flintoff who stole the show. At one point he was on 51 from 72 balls; the next 18 fetched him 53. England, 118 for 3 after 32 overs, added another 133 in 18 overs on the reserve day.

The Sri Lankan chase was halted by two wickets apiece from Harmison and Flintoff. The score read 95 for 5 after 24 overs when rain halted play for one final time. The Duckworth-Lewis par score was 145.

However, the match drew attention for terrible mismanagement. A letter from one Richard Seeckts to ESPNCricinfo was quite revealing: “Thousands of spectators sat in their cars for up to two hours queuing to get in to the official park-and-ride which had only one gate … We listened as the Test Match Special radio commentators remarked that the ground was only filling up slowly … The seat numbers printed on my tickets did not exist … I had to find the right steward with the replacement tickets. I eventually took my seat two hours after I started queuing … An hour later play was washed out for the day … There was ample opportunity to queue for toilets, overpriced bars and food outlets, all of which were far too scarce for a crowd of 16,000. Shelter from the rain was non-existent … ICC preferred to focus on stern warnings about which fizzy drinks could not be taken into the ground.”

Semi-finals

Exactly why only 8,700 people showed up for the Edgbaston match that day is difficult to fathom. After all, it is not every day that English crowds get to cheer for their side against Australia in the knock-out match of a major tournament.

The officials cited the late announcement of the semi-final draws as a reason. However, if we go by the dates, the semi-finalists were decided three days before the match. Weekday and bitter cold were other probably reasons, but was there not an Australia versus England match going on?

Even Michael Vaughan’s pre-match plea fell on deaf ears: “We’ve had fantastic support this summer from England fans and we’ll need them on Tuesday when we measure ourselves against the most successful one-day team in the world.”

Nobody really gave England a chance. They had, after all, lost 14 ODIs on the trot against their old rivals (across a span that lasted over four years). Worse, English fans probably had a déjà vu when Trescothick dropped Gilchrist off Flintoff — and Gilchrist found his groove.

Then Trescothick caught Gilchrist. He had earlier caught Hayden. He later caught Martyn. Gough was quick. Harmison was quicker, bowling at a pace that would torment Australians for the historic summer that would follow.

But the show-stealer of the day was Vaughan. His field placements and bowling changes were almost clinical, but he had a bigger role to play: he bowled his full quota of 10 overs, conceded only 42, picked up Martyn and Darren Lehmann, and ran out Andrew Symonds.

Martyn top-scored with 65, while a young blonde called Michael Clarke got an effortless 34-ball 42. Australia finished on 259 for 9.

England lost Solanki early, but this was a day when Vaughan could do no wrong. He came with an average of a mere 18 from his 15 previous innings, but he scored an imperious 86 that included 4 fours in an over from Lee. Trescothick got into the act as well, with 81; he hit 4 fours in an over too, off McGrath.

Once the platform was set, Andrew Strauss walked out and thrashed the Australians around for an unbeaten 42-ball 52. England cruised home in the 47th over.

The other semi-final, at Rose Bowl, turned out to be a surprisingly one-sided affair. Everyone, even his staunchest supporters, were taken aback when Inzamam chose to bat under a cloudy sky with a strong breeze blowing. “By batting first, Inzamam played right into our hands,” commented Sarwan in the post-match press-conference.

The second mistake was to send debutant Salman Butt to open. He lasted 2 balls. Ian Bradshaw, Corey Collymore, Dwayne Bravo, and even Wavell Hinds got the ball to swing around, and the batsmen kept poking and gifting catches to Courtney Browne behind the stumps.

Hameed tried to resurrect. He top-scored with an attractive 39, but was run out when he took on Bravo’s arm. The entire Pakistan innings produced 9 fours and a six; 6 of these fours were hit by Hameed. Of the others, Afridi hit a four and a six before being last out — stumped off Gayle.

Pakistan folded for 131. This time Shoaib got the new ball: it took him 14 balls to send Gayle and Hinds back. Then Lara walked out — to face Shoaib for the first time.

Shoaib later recollected the rendezvous in his autobiography Controversially Yours: “Lara walked in. As he came towards the wicket, I walked up to him and asked if I could say something to him.”

What followed was somewhat like this:

Lara: Please do, but don’t be nasty to me.

Shoaib: No, I won’t. It is an honour for me to bowl to you. I have been waiting for this for so long.

Lara: Thank you very much, how about going easy on me then?

Shoaib continued: “He went on to take guard, when Sarwan walked across and asked him what I had said. Lara jokingly replied that I had told him to watch out, I was going to kill him!”

Inzamam replaced Shoaib shortly afterwards (remember how they used him in short bursts?). When he returned he went flat out at Lara. By that time Lara was finding gaps with ridiculous ease despite the conditions and fading light — including 3 in consecutive balls from Razzaq.

The second ball of Shoaib’s next over rose awkwardly and hit Lara behind his jaw; the champion collapsed in a heap. He did not resume.

However, Sarwan showed composure, scored a fifty, and made sure West Indies were home with almost 22 overs to spare. More good news came West Indies’ way when Lara was declared fit for the final.

The media ended up misinterpreting Sarwan’s recollection of the conversation between Shoaib and Lara. Thankfully, Lara himself intervened, clearing up the situation.

As for Shoaib, things were very one-dimensional: “All I was interested in was that he sign the ball —the one that had a bit of the great batsman’s blood on it — for me and he [Lara] kindly obliged.”

An uncouth gesture? Maybe, but certainly not hypocritical.

Brian Lara felled by Shoaib Akhtar © Getty Images
Brian Lara felled by Shoaib Akhtar © Getty Images

The final

For once there were people at the ground. Neither weather nor football could keep the spectators from flocking to The Oval: it is not often, after all, that England play the final of a major contest — that too at home.

Things were not good back home for the West Indians. The Caribbean Islands — indeed, the entire Atlantic coast — were hit by a string of hurricanes. Hurricane Ivan had already hit them hard, but Hurricane Jeanne — one of the worst in Atlantic history — was deadlier. Jeanne claimed over 3,000 lives.

However, the West Indian fast bowlers did a tremendous job after Lara opted to bowl. The pitch was not the usual flat pitch of The Oval, and Bradshaw took out Solanki and Vaughan soon. Strauss was run out by Bravo, while Lara pulled off a blinder to catch a ferocious pull from Flintoff, off Wavell Hinds. Hinds also accounted for Collingwood and Geraint Jones (once again, courtesy an excellent Lara catch), and finished with 10-3-24-3.

With Hinds bowling out all 10 overs, the frontline pacers — Bradshaw, Collymore, and Bravo — took out the wickets one by one. The only resistance came from Trescothick, who got a superb 104 and added 63 for the seventh wicket with Ashley Giles. Trescothick, too, was run out — by Lara.

Giles got a quick 31, but nobody else stood by Trescothick. England were bowled out for 217 in the last over.

It was time for West Indies to be on the receiving end. Harmison and Flintoff steamed in, making the ball do things in the gloom, taking out Wavell Hinds, Sarwan, Gayle, Lara, and Bravo in no time. West Indies were 80 for 5. The other fast bowlers needed to step in at that stage.

But Gough chose the wrong day to lose form altogether. There was support from Alex Wharf, who had removed Ganguly, Laxman, and Dravid in his first 3 overs in international cricket, winning Man of the Match on debut — earlier that season.

Not for the first (or last) time in his career, the onus fell on Chanderpaul. Ryan Hinds hung around to help him add 34. Vaughan, still reluctant to throw the ball to Giles (or bowl himself, after that semi-final spell), asked Trescothick to bowl. And Trescothick had Ryan Hinds caught-behind.

Perhaps with the intention of using only seam to fill up the fifth bowler’s over (and not bowl Giles in the process), Vaughan now summoned Collingwood; even that worked, for Collingwood got rid of Powell soon afterwards.

Twelve runs later Chanderpaul, then on 47, tried to flick an innocuous delivery from Collingwood. The ball took the leading edge and flew to Vaughan at short cover. West Indies ended up gifting 3 pointless wickets to innocuous medium-pacers.

West Indies still needed 71. They had lost their eighth wicket. Collymore, the only man left to bat, would finish his career without reaching 25 even at domestic level.

True, West Indies still had 98 balls in hand, but how long would Browne and Bradshaw last? Even the West Indian supporters began to leave The Oval in groups of ones and twos…

If only they knew.

But the two Bajans hung around. A bona-fide Barbadian, Bradshaw had done well throughout the tournament. Earlier in the day he had taken 2 wickets. Browne, born in Lambeth (literally a stone’s throw from The Oval), played his serious cricket in Barbados as well.

Wharf almost had Bradshaw playing on to the stumps. The ball fell at Bradshaw’s feet. It even rolled towards the wicket before coming to a halt. Later that over Bradshaw slashed at one, and the ball raced past the slips to the fence.

Sensing something was not right, Vaughan recalled Gough and Harmison. At this point the light faded, and with Harmison clocking close to 95 kph, the umpires offered light to the batsmen. But the batsmen decided to bat on — for they had got their eyes in, and there was no guarantee that they would find the touch back the morning after.

“Towards the end it got a bit dark. Steve Harmison was bowling at 96mph and they kept him out, so you have to give a lot of credit to the batsmen. Facing him on a bright sunny day is difficult; facing him in pretty dull light was a great effort,” admitted Vaughan in the post-match conference.

When Harmison pitched one up outside off, Browne hit it with tremendous power to the point boundary. Then Bradshaw leaned into an over-pitched delivery and caressed it past mid-on.

Once Harmison bowled out, Vaughan had no choice but to fall back on Flintoff. Rudi Koertzen (rightly) turned down a close leg-before appeal, much to the disappointment of the England team —who looked more and more frustrated with every passing minute.

The Bajans carried on without fuss, “buoyed by their avowed determination to do something for the people of the Caribbean, especially Grenada, who have suffered in hurricanes,” to quote Berry.

Then Bradshaw unleashed two splendid strokes: a gorgeous cover-drive and a square-cut, both off Collingwood, both for fours, in the space of 3 balls as David Lloyd’s voice informed the television viewers that it was “pitch black out there”.

England did not break through, but they did stem the flow of runs. The target came down: 26 from 36, 24 from 30, 19 from 24, 17 from 18, 12 from 12 — things reached a situation where England could win by containing West Indies.

Unfortunately, Flintoff had bowled out too. Despite being ordinary on the day, Gough could have been an option, but had bowled the previous over (and had bowled out as well). So Vaughan had no option but to fall back upon the inexperienced Wharf.

In hindsight, Vaughan could have been blamed for not giving Giles a couple of overs somewhere in the middle overs. Had he done that, he could have had the luxury of at least one of Harmison and Flintoff bowling at the death — for, as Scyld Berry wrote in Sunday Telegraph, England’s bowling was “too dependent on Stephen Harmison and Andrew Flintoff”.

To his credit, Wharf began with a dot ball. The next one was in the slot, and the batsmen ran two as Giles fielded at sweeper cover. Unfortunately, Wharf had overstepped, which meant that the target had come down to 9 from 11 balls.

The pressure was on England. However, Wharf made sure that the next ball was not scored off.

Then Browne slashed outside off. The next ball sped to the third-man boundary, and pushed the next ball calmly to mid-on and stole a run. 4 from 8.

West Indies were one stroke away; so Bradshaw decided to finish things off in one stroke. His eyes lit up when he saw an over-pitched ball outside off; he went down on one knee; the bat came down in one smooth arc; and the ball ran to the point boundary, sending the West Indian section of the crowd into ruptures.

Bradshaw had not bothered to run. He had not even bothered to stand up as Browne ran towards him. As the pair jogged back towards the dressing-room, Browne, unable to control his emotions, flung himself on the ground. By then their teammates — led by Lara — had swarmed on to the ground. Bravo pounced on Browne. Bradshaw got engulfed in a mini-ocean of maroon.

Ian Bradshaw celebrates after hitting the winning shot; Courtney Browne runs in to congratulate him © Getty Images
Ian Bradshaw celebrates after hitting the winning shot; Courtney Browne runs in to congratulate him © Getty Images

To quote Berry, “Whatever the quality of this tournament overall, it could not have had a more exciting finish.”

“If the heroics of tail-enders Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw can inspire resurgence in West Indian cricket it will be good for the game,” wrote Will Buckley in The Observer. “Only a churl would begrudge Brian Lara a rare taste of team success. Only a dullard would not take pleasure from an ending, at 6.36 pm, so surprising as to defy all odds.”

Vic Marks, on the other hand, was not happy about England’s nervy show on the day. He wrote in The Observer that they “will never have a better chance of winning a one-day trophy of international significance.”

Interestingly, the West Indian media was more cautious. For example, though Everard Gordon of Trinidad Guardian lauded the effort wholeheartedly, he also added a word of caution: “Believing that the sterling performance in this tournament heralds the return to the glorious days of West Indies domination is a danger to be avoided. However, there should be unstinting praise for the effort.”

And despite that incredible win, West Indies sacked coach Gus Logie with immediate effect. 

Brief scores: 

England 217 in 49.4 overs (Marcus Trescothick 104; Wavell Hinds 3 for 24) lost to West Indies 218 for 8 in 48.5 overs (Shivnarine Chanderpaul 47*; Andrew Flintoff 3 for 38) by 2 wickets with 7 balls to spare.

Man of the Match: Ian Bradshaw.

Man of the Series: Ramnaresh Sarwan.