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5 things to look forward to in the World T20 final


ICC_T20_World_Cup_2016_India_WorldT20_cricketAdrenaline junkies of Cricket unite. Eden Gardens at Kolkata is set to witness the biggest cricketing encore since the highly anticipated but largely, one sided India Pakistan T20 clash just days before. 

In a tournament set ablaze by Virat Kohli's singular brilliance and some heart stopping moments including India's running out of Bangladesh, South Africa's extended string of choking at the big stage and what has been the final international appearance of Aussie all rounder Shane Watson, even though the likes of Afridi might be still sticking around, the final stage is set to explode with two unpredictable but highly capable sides locking horns in what could be a grand run-fest. 

A resurgent England (winners of World T20 in 2010), having thumped the biggies of the game, first South Africa in a literal run hammering at Mumbai and later, New Zealand at the massive semi final stage finds itself in the finals comfortably stunned, thanks to a stellar show piloted by the big hefty blows of its potent top order that boasts of Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root and Jos Buttler. 

On the other hand are the forever jubilant and unstoppable West Indies, winners of the 2012 edition of the tournament held in Lanka. Partly-lazy, partly- competitive but pure maestros of playing uncomplicated and joyful cricket. In what has become an adjective exemplifying the forte of the men from the Caribbean, T20 has got accustomed to seeing something ripe, surprising and smashing from the big hitting West Indies; the very nature of this firebrand format of cricket. 

Let us deep-dive toward exploring who holds the key for either teams in a contest that has a lot at stake : pride, passion and glory.

1. Different strokes for Morgan and Ben Stokes

MS Dhoni, India's mercurial captain isn't the only epitome of cool in the exasperating world of international cricket. Often unexpressive and a tad bit reserved, Dublin born Eoin Morgan is the ice-cool leader commanding the present English army. 

Often chided for a lackluster performance with the bat leading to a rising tide doubting his very place in the English squad, Morgan, who continues his torrid run with the bat (best score 27 vs W.I. in Mumbai) has led a time of big hitting intelligent cricketers with rich aplomb. 

He would be looking to make the most of the final run at Kolkata and given his rich cricketing repertoire and ability to both pinch hit and reverse sweep at the most unexpected time, Morgan could well be in the midst of a contest where a lot will depend on bowling all rounder Ben Stokes' big hitting abilities. 

Stokes, who picked up 4 wickets thus far, with 3 of those coming in the opening campaign against the Kiwis at Delhi could manage only 43 runs. Time for some better strokes Ben Stokes? 

2. Captain Sammy's leadership

Whether it is opening the bowling with Trinidadian Samuel Badree or vesting faith in Andre Fletcher (84 of 64 vs Sri Lanka), there's something about the tall and lanky St. Lucian that continues to make headlines. When not hitting those big mighty blows in the highest stage of the tournament, picture Sammy's onslaught against Pakistan and Australia in World T20 2014, he's either smiling, dancing alongside Bravo celebrating a wicket or simply being Sammy; perhaps the nicest and most friendliest captain the Windies have ever had. 

His personal form with the bat hasn't been that spectacular off late but then he's hardly have had the chance to flex his muscle. At times, Samuels, and on other occasions, Charles, Fletcher and co got the scoreboard ticking. 
Save for his first ball duck against South Africa, Darren Sammy's exceptional leadership supplemented by concocting the impressive batting alliance of big hitting Gayle and the muscular Johnson Charles have kept the Calypso kings in fine knick. Eden Gardens, however could erupt with joy if Sammy does something joyous with the bat too. Who knows, it might come down to the lower order!

3. The powerful Windies middle order

Opening with T20's highest ever run scorer, the man with 2 separate hundreds; Chris Gayle, having the tad bit inconsistent but the evermarvelous Samuels in at no.3 and stretching to the big and burlesque Carlos Brathwaite ( whose 6 against South Africa in the final over sent Proteas packing) at the lower order, the West Indies do seem to possess the best T20 middle order where strike rates and conversion rates are concerned.

Both Charles and Simmons have effervescently demonstrated their big hitting abilities. Nearly the same age at 27, both Fletcher (tending to an injury but amongst the rising Windies batsmen) and Charles have a similar strike rates.

But what's best is that, where the likes of Gayle, Bravo and Samuels fail, 3 top draws of the Windies with each having crossed over 1000 runs in T20s, they've got plenty of power hitting forces in the form of Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons and Denesh Ramdin. 

Where big batsmen hit mighty sixes, lads close to being lanky like Russell unearth enough brute force to send the ball flying to the roof. He did just that during his recent 20 ball 43 against India at Mumbai to send the hosts out of their own turf.

4. The trinity of Jos Buttler, Joe Root and Jason Roy

During the 70s, the world of Rock was rocked by the 3 distinct Js of music: with Morrison, Hendrix and Joplin leading the revolution. 

Enter the 2016s and we see England unraveling a new J-force in action. Joe Root with 195 runs, Roy with his 183 and Jos Buttler with his 155 have compiled a massive 533 runs in World T 20 2016. 

On Sunday, the English would be hoping for Root and Roy to go all guns blazing agains the likes of Andre Russell, Badree, Taylor and co. as they did in their routing of South Africa at Mumbai. Root's 83 against South Africa and Roy's 78 against New Zealand thumped England's opponents like canned heat. 

5. Gayle-force 

1500 plus T20 runs. A strike rate that constantly heads north to 130 taking his home side to newfound highs and having struck not one but 2 T20 tons, Jamaican Chris Gayle who likes to call himself the world boss is truly the undisputed king of cricket's most enthralling format.

Having endured a lackluster tournament thus far, but having scored a belter of a ton off just 48 against the same opponents he's set to take on at the Eden gardens, Gayle would be hoping to make the most of the first few overs before he begins to set in for what could be a truly big one.

While the West Indies would be hoping for Gayle to push hard in their final duo, which could also be Gayle's last World T20 appearance (he's closing on 37), the English would be concocting plans to cut short Gayle's plans to elongate the Windies dream-run.

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