How Darren Sammy Became the Best Finisher in T20 Cricket

Chris Bradshaw@@BradshawCDFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2014

West Indies' captain Darren Sammy runs to celebrate his team's win over Australia in the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup match in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, March 28, 2014. West Indies' won the match by six wickets. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Aijaz Rahi

West Indies skipper Darren Sammy cemented his position as the best finisher in T20 cricket with a masterful display against Australia on Friday.

With 12 required from the final four balls, Sammy smashed the hapless James Faulkner for two enormous sixes to seal victory for the men from the Caribbean.

Faulkner wasn't the only Aussie to feel the wrath of Sammy's bat. Mitchell Starc also got the treatment, with 19 runs plundered from the game's penultimate over.

The St. Lucian's path to becoming one of the game's most proficient closers hasn't been entirely smooth, though. Critics can certainly point to Sammy's statistics, which are less than stellar with both bat and ball.

The 34 not out against the Aussies was Sammy's highest score in the shortest form of the game. In 50 T20 appearances, Sammy has accumulated 421 runs at an unremarkable average of 15.59.

The stats stack up slightly better when it comes to Sammy's bowling. His medium-pacers have produced 40 wickets at an average of 22.90 with an economy rate of 7.01.

Of course, cricket is played in the middle and not on a statistician's scorebook, and Sammy is a prime example of someone who offers much more to his team than the sum of the individual parts.

#wt20 #wibelieve well done #teamwindies mission continues pic.twitter.com/kJpsQbnRD9

— Darren Sammy (@darrensammy88) March 28, 2014

Sammy's hot streak with the bat began during England's recent tour of the Caribbean. Starting with an unbeaten 30 from just nine balls in Barbados earlier this month, Sammy has been dismissed just once in his past five T20 innings. The right-hander has reached double figures on each occasion with a strike rate of at least 136.09 in each innings. Impressive stuff.

So what is Sammy's modus operandi at the business end of an innings? Floating up and down the order, the skipper can usually be found heading to the crease when rapid runs are most required.

#wt20 #wibelieve well done #teamwindies mission continues pic.twitter.com/kJpsQbnRD9

— Darren Sammy (@darrensammy88) March 28, 2014

Of course coming in with balls rather than overs remaining doesn't leave much time for acclimatisation in the middle. Sammy will give himself the luxury of a sighter or two but requires little time to rev up to full power.

Especially impressive straight down the wicket, Sammy can clear the rope off front and back foot, making him a bowler's nightmare. Overpitch and he'll smash you over long off. Drop too short and he'll flat bat you over long on.

Darren Sammy in T20s in March
DateOpponentRunsBallsMatch Result
March 28Australia34*13W
March 25Bangladesh14*5W
March 23India117L
March 19**Sri Lanka30*14W
March 18**EnglandDNB-W
March 13England15*11L
March 11England30*9W
March 9EnglandDNB-W
ESPNCricinfo

**These matches in the table were not full T20Is.

The West Indies skipper isn't all about power, though, as witnessed by an extraordinary shot off Mitchell Starc in the penultimate over. The left-arm quickie bowled a full delivery on off stump, which Sammy somehow noodled behind square on the leg side for a boundary.

Finesse plus brutal power proved to be a devastating combination against the pre-tournament favourites.

Pakistan, you have been warned!