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Bradshaw & Browne script incredible win

By Vijay Lokapally

LONDON, SEPT. 26. As Ian Bradshaw went down on his knees to majestically herald the winning runs with a square drive, West Indian cricket glowed at The Oval.

Never had a boundary carried greater value for West Indies cricket for a long, long time. The wild celebrations and tearful embraces as Brian Lara and his men took a victory lap marked a grand revival for cricket in the Caribbean, something the whole fraternity would welcome universally.

Two men from Barbados — Bradshaw and Courtney Browne— scripted a glorious chapter in the history of the game and left England frustrated after a pulsating finish to the Champions Trophy. The fascinating triumph that the West Indies recorded was largely due to the incredible 71-run eighth-wicket partnership between Browne and Bradshaw, who was named man of the match.

The two batsmen turned down an offer for light and defied the England attack to trigger off celebrations in the Caribbean islands. Browne and Bradshaw had come together when West Indies was at a precarious 147 for eight and staring down the barrel.

Erratic bowling

In bowler-friendly conditions, Marcus Trescothick had produced his best innings to raise hopes of England's first major international title. A win here would have capped a glorious summer for Michael Vaughan and his men, but the captain lost control of the game as his bowlers became erratic once the pressure grew. It was indeed surprising that Ashley Giles did not get to bowl at all.

After the bowlers had done a decent job, the West Indian batsmen played some indiscreet shots. A top-edge accounted for Wavell Hinds and some lethal movement left Sarwan — adjudged `player of the tournament' — in a cramped position and the edge was taken spectacularly by Andrew Strauss at second slip who flung to his right.

Gritty Chanderpaul

The English spirits were boosted further by an impetuous Chris Gayle, who, after taking two fours off Steve Harmison, played a pull too early and presented a return catch off the bottom of his bat. When Lara fell to an ambitious drive, he only increased the burden on the lower half, where Shivnarine Chanderpaul was once again saddled with the responsibility of carrying the innings on his shoulders. With his unusual two-eyed stance, Chanderpaul offered resistance even as his partners played some expansive shots.

However, Browne and Bradshaw came up with the performance of a lifetime to script an incredible finish.

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