West Indies’ Carlos Brathwaite might be playing in faraway Australia for his franchise in the Big Bash League (BBL), but as Mitchell Marsh unleashed the power of his shots in the ICC T20 World Cup final against New Zealand, the tall Caribbean player’s exploits five years back came flooding back.
England were at the receiving end of Brathwaite’s pyrotechnics in the 2016 edition of the ICC T20 World Cup final, as the Barbados-born West Indian smashed four consecutive sixes off England’s Ben Stokes in the last over that propelled the Caribbean side to the title.
The feat prompted commentator Ian Bishop to demand viewers watching coverage around the world get to know Brathwaite with the line “Carlos Brathwaite, Carlossss Brathwaite…. Remember the name.”
Five years on, Mitchell Marsh is the new Brathwaite of T20 cricket after he bludgeoned the New Zealand attack to shreds to guide Australia to their maiden T20 World Cup title with an unbeaten 50-ball 77, embellished with four sixes and six boundaries.
Marsh’s rise to the top has been remarkable and is the triumph of hard work and perseverance but put simply, a staggering ability to smash one boundary after another.
Pushed up the T20 order during their white-ball tour of the West Indies earlier this year, the 30-year-old batted at No.3 and has since taken the newfound responsibility in his stride to help guide Australia to global glory.
Marsh’s innings of 53 and 28 against the West Indies and Pakistan helped navigate his team to the final but he saved his best for the last. Arriving at the crease in just the third over after the dismissal of captain Aaron Finch, Marsh declared his intentions with a six off Adam Milne. And back-to-back fours off the Black Caps’ seamer took his tally to 14 off just three balls.
Aided by David Warner’s 53 off 38, Marsh soon set about anchoring the Australian innings and there was no stopping him by the time the middle overs entered full swing. He clobbered maximums off Jimmy Neesham, Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner to help bring up a 50-run partnership with Warner and leave New Zealand with a mountain to climb.
Warner, who was crowned ‘Player of the Tournament’, was sent packing by a straight delivery from Trent Boult but that did nothing to inhibit Marsh, who continued to treat New Zealand bowlers with disdain, dispatching them to all corners of the Dubai International Stadium.
The player from Perth has perfectly vindicated that faith the selectors had reposed in him earlier this year.