MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite offered a reminder of his astonishing firepower with a knock of 101 off 82 balls that almost delivered one of the greatest World Cup comebacks.
After smashing West Indies to within six runs of victory over New Zealand, though, Brathwaite was caught by Trent Boult at deep mid-on going for glory with seven balls remaining.
“Obviously, I’m devastated not to get over the line,” said the Barbadian.
“I thought it had enough bat on it. I was willing it to go up and up and up but that was one of the best fielders in the world out there,” Brathwaite added.
“It’s a game of margins. One or two yards more, we would have been victorious tonight,” he said.
An innings including five sixes and nine fours, including a devastating trio of sixes as part of 25 runs off Matt Henry in the 47th over, brought back memories of Brathwaite’s famous innings which won the World Twenty20 in 2016 when he hit four sixes in a row off England’s Ben Stokes in the final over.
Despite the lingering recollection of that feat, Brathwaite has yet to truly deliver with the bat in the ODI format having managed just one half-century in his previous 37 matches.
“For me personally, for my confidence, as a result of all the hard work I’ve been putting in it’s finally good that it comes to fruition,” he said.
“Obviously, I know I can (do it), I never stopped working so it’s good to see your hard work pay off. I am averaging 45 in test cricket so I think I can handle the bat a bit,” he said.
“As it is a century in a losing cause it is bittersweet. I’m not going to beat myself up, because the ball should have gone for six and we should have won,” he said.
His captain Jason Holder said it would be wrong to criticise Brathwaite’s decision to go for a big shot when a single would have given him the strike for the final over.
“We wouldn’t have gone down to the penultimate if it wasn’t for Carlos as well. He’s been playing excellently well up to that point. It’s just one of those things,” Holder said.
“His work ethic is really good. He’s not one to shy away from his responsibilities. And he puts in a really good effort into his preparation. The knock that he played today is not surprising to me,” he said.
Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond