BETWEEN THE WICKETS: Brathwaite or Samuels, who was the Man?

I have often wondered what is the right criterion for picking a Man of the Match in cricket. In most cases it is obvious, especially in Tests or One-day Internationals where there is a standout innings or bowling performance.
BETWEEN THE WICKETS: Brathwaite or Samuels, who was the Man?
Captain Morgan consoles Ben Stokes after Brathwaite hit him for four sixes

Chennai

But on Sunday in the World T20 final, the selection left me wondering again because my pick was Carlos Brathwaite the giant, who hit four sixes in a row to single-handedly give the West Indies the cup, though the official Man was Marlon Samuels, who stayed through the chase till the end making 85.
In fact, when Chris Jordan finished the penultimate over on a high leaving the West Indies requiring 19 from six balls, my favourites had changed from the Caribbean to England and the only thing I eagerly looked at was whether Samuels was on strike. I still believe, if he was the one facing the first ball, probably the result would have been different: probably, of course. Samuels would still have managed a single off the first ball and Brathwaite would have still hit those sixes to snatch the win from England. But if there is one moment that changed England’s destiny, it was that man who like many of his teammates believed the bat should be used only to attack mercilessly. 
After two sixes, Ben Stokes the hapless bowler kneeled on the ground, his head in his hands and it went on for two more balls. It was probably the same feeling that another English bowler Stuart Broad had when Yuvraj hit those six sixes in the inaugural World T20 competition in South Africa. Yuvraj’s record-breaking effort did not altogether change the course of the match like it did when Brathwaite hit those shots and yet there was only one candidate for the man of the match award then. 
With Russell and the other power-hitters back in the hut and only the soft Samuel left, only a Brathwaite could have achieved the same result for the West Indies. But then, the cricket world does not give the Man of the Match award to a fielder who might have changed the outcome of the match with a breath-taking catch or run-out; it acknowledges the overall contribution and in Kolkata, Samuels was the easier choice. 
That is T20 cricket for you. England was easily the better team except for that over but one man proved four balls are enough to win a match.

Related Stories

No stories found.