Brathwaite’s four sixes off four balls – in his own words

Carlos Brathwaite takes a selfie with the T20 World Cup
Carlos Brathwaite scored only 57 runs in the tournament, 34 of which came in the final

On 3 April 2016 Carlos Brathwaite became a West Indies legend.

With England on the cusp of glory in the World T20 final in Kolkata, he was on strike and his side needed an unlikely 19 runs off the final over to win.

Brathwaite did it in style, hitting Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes as West Indies pulled off one of the most remarkable victories of all time with two balls to spare.

West Indies begin the defence of that title – against England, no less – on Saturday in Dubai.

To mark the occasion, Brathwaite talks BBC Sport through a tournament, match and final over that will live long in the memory.

The underdogs bite back

Brathwaite was not selected in the initial West Indies squad but came in as a replacement for the injured Kieron Pollard. West Indies surpassed expectations, beating England, South Africa and Sri Lanka to top their group before overcoming India in the semi-finals.

“Going into the tournament, we were buzzing and confident but everyone had us finishing just above Afghanistan and going out at the first round. I remember us thinking we have everything to play for – no-one expects us to do anything – so we’ll go out and express ourselves.

“We had a team of seasoned T20 players who had played a lot in the Indian Premier League – we were probably the most equipped team to play in the World Cup.

“We were accustomed to T20 cricket, the grounds, the crowd. We were dumbfounded why we weren’t seen as favourites but were happy to go in as underdog tags.

“Everything just clicked. We didn’t have that one player who won us the game. We had contributions from different players.

“After the semi-final, we had a nice steel pan session on the lunch tins. Everybody was around the lunch table in Mumbai and we were playing the pots and pans – a nice vibe, some jingles and everyone dancing.”

The final – West Indies’ hopes fade

In the final, England posted 155-9 as Brathwaite returned figures of 3-23 that would quickly be forgotten. In reply, West Indies slipped to 11-3 and, when number eight Brathwaite joined Marlon Samuels at 107-6, they needed 49 off 27 balls.

“Darren Sammy got out and we were looking around to see who would go out next. I just got up, shot out of the dugout and was out there batting. I only then realised it was a big task.

“I told Marlon it was about getting bat on ball, something I worked hard on. Sometimes in the closing parts of the game you try to get fours and sixes and miss the ball completely.”

The equation came down to 27 off 12 balls, but Chris Jordan conceded only eight off the penultimate over of the match.

“Marlon got a boundary early and then Chris Jordan bowled fantastically and nailed every single yorker.

“I remember then thinking it was an uphill task.”

Marlon Samuels and Ben Stokes exchange words during the 2016 T20 World Cup final
Marlon Samuels (left) was named man of the match in the final

Six balls, 19 runs needed

Brathwaite had scored 10 off six balls as he prepared to face Stokes. Samuels, unbeaten on 85 off 66, was at the non-striker’s end.

“I was looking at the scoreboard thinking this is a hell of a chase. Six balls – it all comes to this. I then tuned out after that. Focus on the ball. Bat on ball. Get it in the air and get Marlon on strike.”

19.1 overs: Stokes gets his line wrong. Brathwaite hoists the ball into the stand behind deep backward square.

“Ball one was down leg and I helped it along. I started to run but it had flown off the bat nicely. Marlon was running circles round the stumps with fist pumps. I was in a good zone but that was just one ball – I had to calm down.”

19.2 overs: Fuller from Stokes, on leg stump, but Brathwaite hammers it over long-on for a huge six.

“Ball two came off the bat sweetly. I was like ‘yeah, that feels good’. Marlon was giving it some big ones. I was telling him to relax – we haven’t won it yet.”

19.3 overs: Straight and full again from Stokes. Brathwaite doesn’t middle it but still manages to clear long-off.

“Ball three was a bit of a shank. I turned to the crowd, my wife was there. Only now did I think we’re in this. It’s just one run to win so I could soak in the atmosphere and enjoy it. I turned to the crowd with fist pumps and blowing kisses.

“At this moment I knew I can let my guard down and enjoy the moment. I get chills thinking about it. It was real good – indescribable. It was just a couple of seconds but it was almost as if time had stopped.

“You have worked so hard for so long, you always want that moment when you can enjoy it and bask in the glory. It just so happened that it took place against England – who happen to be the old enemy – in India in a World Cup final.

“The first few balls went so quickly but after the third ball there was a little something going on between Eoin Morgan, Stokes and Marlon, so it gave me some time to enjoy it.

“The camera phones came out and with their lights on, capturing the moment.

“It was a real good feeling, as if I’d earned these five seconds to really enjoy the fruits of my labour. All the years you have pined away – in the gym, sleepless nights. Everything had flashed before my eyes.”

19.4 overs: Stokes drifts on to the pads. Brathwaite heaves it high over mid-wicket. Arms outstretched, he’s already roaring before the ball has sailed over the mid-wicket boundary. He gets a bear hug from Samuels before being swamped by his team-mates as they charge on to the pitch.

“Then ball four, it came off the middle as well and the rest is history.”

West Indies team celebrate beating England in the 2016 T20 World Cup final
West Indies lost only one match – to Afghanistan in the group stages – on their way to winning the T20 World Cup

The celebrations – and sharing a moment with Stokes

“Carlos Brathwaite, remember the name!” screamed commentator Ian Bishop. Brathwaite had played one of the greatest limited-overs innings of all time in the most thrilling climax to a World Cup final in history – only hours after West Indies had won the Women’s World T20 on the same ground.

“We did a lap of the pitch to salute the crowd. My wife and the West Indies women’s team came down. We did some dancing on the pitch.

“After that I video-called my family. Everyone from the village had come over to congratulate my mum. I could hear so many people shouting, cars honking as they passed my house.

“Then I went to Stokes after. Me and Jordan are close and I asked him if Stokes was still around. During that whole tournament I was collecting jerseys of players I like and I already said I wanted his jersey after the game.

“I told him, ‘Look man, somebody had to win and somebody had to lose, but I got great respect for you and what you’ve done so far’.

We shared a mutual moment of respect and I got his jersey. It was good to enjoy the moment but to also speak to a fellow competitor and let him know ‘tough luck and I still respect your journey so far’, which I respect more now.

“The night had everything: the performance, being able to share it with my wife, my family over video call and then being able to connect with the opponent as well.

“It was one of the nights of my life.”

Carlos Brathwaite and wife Jessica Felix with the 2016 T20 World Cup
Brathwaite enjoys a rare quiet moment of celebration with wife Jessica Felix

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