West Indies stun Australia

ICC World Twenty20 2009

Chris Gayle

Chris Gayle thumps the ball over long-on for six during his stunning innings of 88

Australia became the second shock casualty of the ICC World Twenty20 after West Indies emerged from their desperate tour of England to secure a stunning triumph at The Oval.

Comprehensively beaten in the Test and one-day series by England, few people would have given West Indies much of a chance against an Australia side strongly favoured to win the tournament.

But, having restricted Australia to 169 for seven after they won the toss and decided to bat, West Indies cruised to a superb seven-wicket victory with 25 balls to spare after Chris Gayle's brutal 88 and an almost equally entertaining 53 from Andre Fletcher.

It may not have registered as such a big a shock as minnows Holland beating England last night, but it leaves Sri Lanka, West Indies and Australia scrambling to secure the two qualification places from Group C to reach the Super Eight stage.

Such was the comprehensive nature of Australia's defeat, their hopes of qualification will be severely damaged if run-rate becomes a factor in deciding the final outcome of the group.

Reeling from their decision to send all-rounder Andrew Symonds home for an "alcohol-related incident" on Thursday, Australia were given no respite and slumped to 15 for three inside four overs following an eventful first over from Jerome Taylor which included three wides.

Opener Shane Watson drove the third ball of the match to mid-off and captain Ponting fell lbw to his first legitimate ball, before Michael Clarke slapped Fidel Edwards to third man in the next over to leave Australia reeling.

They were able to overcome such a start and reach a respectable score largely due to a determined half-century from opener David Warner, whose 63 off 53 balls ensured Australia did not completely capitulate.

David Warner & Denesh Ramdin

David Warner impressed for Australia with 63 but their score of 169 for seven was comfortably surpassed by West Indies

Warner found an ally in wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who helped Australia recover with a 66-run stand which allowed their middle order to play with greater freedom in the closing overs.

Haddin fell by mistiming a drive to midwicket and Warner's innings was ended when he drove to extra cover, setting the stage for David and Mike Hussey to propel Australia to a competitive target in the final overs.

David did his best by hitting three sixes in his 27 off 16 balls - he was caught at long-on - and was Mike's unbeaten 28 off 15 deliveries, which included 16 off the final over, proved equally valuable.

Facing a testing but by no means formidable target, West Indies virtually settled the issue by the end of the five overs of fielding restrictions with Gayle and Fletcher racing to 83 without loss.

Gayle was particularly fearsome, hammering 27 off the fifth over of the innings from Brett Lee, which contained three sixes and two fours, and dominated a 133-run opening stand off just 76 balls - the third highest partnership in Twenty20 international history.

Fletcher had faced 32 balls by the time he drove Mitchell Johnson to extra-cover, but Gayle continued his onslaught and was finally dismissed with West Indies only 13 runs away from victory.

The captain hammered six fours and six sixes during his explosive 50-ball innings and his departure inevitably signalled a slowing in the scoring rate, but such was West Indies' start, they could celebrate an overdue victory on English soil with several overs to spare.

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