West Indies batsman Carlos Brathwaite descended in a blaze of glory in Manchester and a touching moment of sportsmanship from the Black Caps backed his post-match despair.
The West Indies No 6 batsman dropped literally centimeters short of one of the greatest cricketing comebacks in truly phenomenal innings, caught on the boundary with five runs required to win.
At 164-7, chasing 292 for victory, Brathwaite – the guy who before tonight had a 50 ODI top score, smashed 101 out of 82 balls, booming five sixes, each more amazing than the last. From seven balls, the equation was decreased to six when a short-of-a-length delivery was pushed to the long-on boundary.
A roar rose from the crowd. It was lined up by Trent Boult, feet dangerously close to the rope. Tiptoeing on the boundary, he hauled it in with inches to spare, sending Brathwaite to his knees, and the Black Caps into ecstasy.
A number of players from New Zealand, led by Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson, and Jimmy Neesham broke their celebratory huddle to comfort him with real warmth. The gesture was valued by Braithwaite.
The scene was reminiscent of the 2015 World Cup finals when Black Cap hero Grant Elliott made a fantastic gesture to bring his squad to the finals after hitting his famous match-winning six.
New Zealand had set themselves nicely for a late push that Williamson and Neesham had assured. They scored 33 off three overs, but Hope grassed Williamson’s opportunity in the middle. It did not harm West Indies much as Cottrell came back to push Williamson to a top edge ultimately. Cottrell, who finished 4/56, had de Grandhomme run out and took a few shots to remove Santner and Neesham.
New Zealand 291 for 8 (Kane Williamson 148, Ross Taylor 69; Sheldon Cottrell 4/56) beat West Indies 286 all out (Carlos Brathwaite 101, Chris Gayle 87; Trent Boult 4 for 30) by five runs.