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Dwayne Bravo's 5 best performances


Dwayne_Bravo_West_Indies_CricketOn the one hand, Dwayne Bravo turned DJ, sang “Champion,” wore bling, his eyes tripping underneath those cool shades. On the other, West Indies Cricket was beginning to deteriorate at an even faster rate.

In the absence of senior players available to represent the national side, a scenario that had been rampant in West Indian cricket since 2013, the West Indies side was growing wearier without the experience that blokes like Bravo could have provided.

After all, wasn’t that what was always expected out of him? Wasn’t that what he set out to do? A man who prided himself on being a fan of Brian Lara, when Bravo broke into international cricket in 2004, it never seemed that he’d call it a day. And yet he did so just months before the 2019 Cricket World Cup – a tournament for which the West Indians only just managed to qualify, and in a manner that would dishearten their pantheon of greats.

Bravo wasn’t around to help the struggling side beat the likes of Ireland, Papua New Guinea, UAE, Zimbabwe or Scotland in the World Cup qualifiers. Bravo will not be at the 2019 World Cup to represent the West Indies, a team that seems enterprising with notes of flair, but which could have used his precious experience.

Calling time on their career is the hardest decision a player has to make. Dwayne Bravo, who last represented the West Indies around two years ago, chose to push the stop button suddenly. Was it an easy call, or was it the only way in which a brilliant career was slated to explode, the mighty cradle of promise and exuberance no longer willing or able to deal with an unsure board? One will never know.

But what one does know is that Dwayne Bravo- a master of the slower ball, a plunderer of many vital knocks down the order, a causer of upsets for established sides - played the game with a bit of pride and a bit of bravado.

As the Trinidadian calls time on his international career, forever leaving fans stricken with a decision that seemed both sudden but inevitable given his waning relationship with the Cricket Board, we rewind back to five of his best performances:

A stunning all-round show v New Zealand, 5th ODI, 2014

Bravo was a regular member of the side until 2014, and his fine all-round talent brought fine rewards for his side in yet another series they comfortably lost to New Zealand.

Batting under pressure at Hamilton, Bravo reminded one and all of his absurdly magical talent with both bat and ball. He first unleashed himself at the Kiwi bowlers, smashing 3 mighty sixes on the way to his 106, a special century defined by magnificently crafted cover drives and whips on the leg, before turning out with the ball to dismiss Guptill in an economical spell that proved too good for the hosts to handle.

Bravo’s 106, his final ODI century, would be remembered for taking his team to a fantastic 363, their highest tally against a side featuring Williamson, Taylor, Guptill.

The nail-biting final over of vs Yuvraj in Kingston, 2nd ODI, 2006

Back in the day, under the captaincy of his role model Brian Lara, Bravo produced magic to stun Team India and fill the nervy crowds with joy at Kingston, Jamaica.

With India requiring just 2 runs from Yuvraj’s bat on the last ball, Bravo bamboozled the leftie with a well-disguised slower one. Interestingly, he had just conceded two boundaries in that same over. Was Lara ever happier as the Windies made off with a sudden win?

A thrilling 68 for CSK vs Mumbai, 2018

The start of the 2018 IPL season was a big moment for both teams; biggies of India’s favourite and widely followed T20 league, Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians.

It was a contest where Bravo excelled, right at the opening stage of the series, firing a majestic 68, arguably his finest knock for CSK in a long time. He heaved great sixes, some over the wide extra cover region to silence the home fans at the Wankhede stadium. He took just 30 deliveries for his 68.

A great feature of the right-hander’s belligerent hitting - that made the Mumbai evening only more sublime - was a cracker of a six over deep square leg, his bat zipping into a 180-degree arc made possible by bringing his wrists into play.

Maiden ODI ton vs England, 2006 Champion’s Trophy

Well remembered and loved for his memorable song, “Champion,” Bravo demonstrated right at the start of his career that he could bat like one too.

Against a pace attack powered by Jimmy Anderson and ‘Freddie’ Flintoff, Bravo unleashed himself at Ahmedabad.

Lara, Gayle, Chanderpaul and others were impressive company to keep, but it was Bravo’s maiden century that would shout from the headlines in a game that the West Indies somehow managed to lose, arguably owing to poor, spineless bowling.

Bravo, who may have been utilized as a specialist top-order batsman, plundered 112* and remained unbeaten; that too from the number three spot, a position that currently belongs to Shai Hope.

Bravo launched into a wide array of strokes, massacring the bowlers on either sides of the wicket to end with 14 boundaries and 1 six.

His finest T20 knock ever for the Windies, v Pakistan, 2014 World T20

Bravo is now the James Dean-like poster-boy, steeped in rebellion and glamour, of T20 cricket. But before he turned into a freelancing T20 specialist, he was a man who was an important part of his team’s fortunes in the briefest format of the game.

He demonstrated great substance against a Saeed Ajmal-powered Pakistan at the World T20 stage in Bangladesh when, partnered by his ten-captain Daren Sammy, the Trinidadian struck a fiery 46.

At one stage, his team was at 81 for 5 with only 6 overs to go. That is when Bravo and Sammy came together to script a heroic recovery, with the former hitting some missiles toward the dugouts, hoisting Ajmal and company for flashy, muscular sixes to deep square leg and long on.

His performance helped the Windies make it to the semi-finals, where they lost on Duckworth-Lewis to eventual champions Sri Lanka.

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