25th September 2004 was the day for West Indies’ last global trophy in the 50-over format. They did won a couple of T20 World championships till then but in ODIs, this remained their last significant triumph.
The Champions Trophy, being played in England was a short affair. 12 teams were divided into four groups and only the group toppers progressed for a semi-final. West Indies beat Bangladesh comfortably and then beat South Africa in the group-deciding match after a close fight, thanks to Ramnaresh Sarwan’s gritty 75.
In the semi-final, they beat Pakistan easily after bowling them out for 131. In the final, their competitor was England who beat the then World champion Australia, thanks to an all-round performance of the captain Michael Vaughan. Vaughan top-scored with 86 during the chase and also took two wickets while bowling earlier.
England went as the favourites in the final at the Oval and batting first on a tricky pitch posted 217. West Indies bowlers maintained a tight line and Wavell Hinds finished with 24/3 in his 10 overs. For England, Marcus Trescothick was the star with a brilliant hundred. His 104 and Ashley Giles’ 31 at the death ensured England reached 200 plus.
Despite a good start from Chris Gayle West Indies lost their first two wickets including Sarwan for 35 runs. And when both Gayle and the captain Lara were also dismissed it started looking difficult for West Indies. Shivnarine Chandrapaul was batting solidly but there were regular wickets at the other end. Andrew Flintoff took the wickets of Sarwan and Lara and then he also scalped young Dwayne Bravo for a duck. Even part-timers Trescothick and Paul Collingwood took one wicket each to make West Indies struggle at 135/7. When Collingwood took his next wicket, the big scalp of Chandrapaul for 47, it looked like the match was as good as over. Chandrapaul was dismissed for 66 Post his dismissal Ian Bradshaw joined the wicket-keeper Courtney Brown.
Brown had made his West Indies debut almost 10 years back but was not a regular and his highest ODI score till then was 26. Bradshaw started his ODI career a few months back and did not score more than 12 in an ODI inning till then. The conditions also went worse. It was dark and very difficult to locate the ball from the fast bowlers. But among all these difficulties, they scripted a miracle for West Indies cricket. They had more than 71 overs to chase down 71 runs and they did it patiently. They were not in a hurry, played the balls on its merit and got occasional boundaries to keep the scoreboard moving. Slowly an English dream died and in 49th over the duo of Brown and Bradshaw completed the victory among wild scenes from West Indian players and fans.
It was a great final and a memorable coming from behind victory for West Indies cricket. England were heartbroken and they had to wait for another six years for their first global trophy.