Ponting praises wonderful Windies
Chris Gayle and Ricky Ponting spoke to the media after West Indies won by seven wickets
Australia captain Ricky Ponting admitted his side could have no complaints following their shock defeat to West Indies in the ICC World Twenty20 at The Oval.
Chris Gayle smashed 88 as West Indies romped to their target of 170 with seven wickets and 25 balls to spare.
And such was the margin of victory that Australia’s run-rate took a significant jolt.
That means that even victory over Sri Lanka on Monday might not be enough to send them through to the Super Eights - should Sri Lanka beat West Indies.
“We spoke about getting the first over of each innings right and as it turned out we lost two wickets in our first batting innings and they took a lot off our first bowling over as well,” bemoaned Ponting.
“With the game being as short as it is, you can’t afford to give momentum like that away in either innings and we did it in both.
“I thought 169 was going to be a competitive total if we could take wickets up front with the new ball, but they took us on, hit some early boundaries and got the momentum going their way. They outplayed us, for sure.”
Chris Gayle blasted seven sixes in his 88, from only 50 deliveries, and that blitz, most of which came during a stand of 133 for the first wicket with Andre Fletcher, was decisive.
“We didn’t under-estimate them,” insisted Ponting. “We know how dangerous a side they can be and in this format of the game I don’t think you can afford to take your foot off the accelerator against any opponent, as we saw last night with the Holland-England game.
“The shorter the format of the game, the closer it brings teams together and when the opposition have players like Chris Gayle they can beat anybody.
“They are a dangerous side and if some of their better players come off like they did today then they’ll compete against everybody.”
One of Gayle’s towering blows off paceman Brett Lee struck the roof above the dressing rooms and was clocked at 105 metres by television technology.
Gayle modestly downplayed the size of that six, however, when he said: “It was a good hit against a top-class bowler.
“It’s the first time I have hit it so far but if the ball is in the slot in Twenty20, these things happen and you will have guys who hit it further than me as well - maybe Shahid Afridi or Virender Sehwag.
“Once I can clear the boundary I am satisfied with that; it doesn’t matter how far it goes.”
Gayle was full of praise for opening partner Fletcher, with whom he shared the third highest stand in Twenty20 international history.
“Credit must also go to Andre Fletcher with the way he batted because it took the pressure off me,” Gayle said. “Now we just want to make it through because as we have seen in Twenty20 every team has a chance to win a game.
“After a tough series against England we wanted to put a smile back on our fans’ faces.
“But this is not over. It was only the first game and we have a long way to go.”