Gayle blows India away
West Indies skipper Chris Gayle kept his side’s hopes of reaching the ICC World Twenty20 semi-finals alive as he blasted 98 in a 14-run win over India at the Kensington Oval.
In a game both sides needed to win to retain any real hope of reaching the last-four, Gayle was at his swashbuckling best smashing seven sixes and five fours before he was unluckily run out in the final over.
The left-hander, who was dropped on 46 following a calamitous mix-up between Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan, put on 80 with fellow opener Shivnarine Chanderpaul to form the basis of a competitive 169 for six.
A conservative India chase never threatened the target and the steady flow of wickets meant a late surge failed to materialise as they finished on 155 for nine.
India were behind the rate from the outset as their top three all struggled to operate at a run a ball.
Murali Vijay, Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma failed to find their timing - putting Gayle’s earlier fireworks into perspective.
When Suresh Raina briefly threatened, following a towering six off Kieron Pollard with back-to-back fours, Gayle introduced himself and immediately had him caught by Darren Sammy at midwicket.
India were soon 81 for five when Yuvraj Singh’s poor tournament continued as he was caught at deep midwicket off Sulieman Benn and the game was beyond them when Dhoni was brilliantly run out by Dwayne Bravo - which served to underline an impressive fielding display by the hosts.
India had let themselves down in the field after the match was delayed by 30 minutes due to a wet outfield.
Dhoni won the toss and, sensing some early assistance in the wicket for his bowlers elected to field, but any advantage was lost by some sloppy fielding.
Ravindra Jadeja failed to hold onto a running chance when Chanderpaul when he was on 12, but the key miss arrived when Dhoni and Pathan crashed into each other after Gayle skied a high catch on 46.
The left-hander made them pay in a 66-ball stay that was highlighted of his innings a massive six down the ground off Pathan that landed on the roof of the stand.
He looked set for a well-deserved century until he suffered a slice of bad luck to be run out with two balls remaining.
Diving to make a second run, Gayle’s bat momentarily jumped off the turf at the same time Dhoni broke the stumps.
Victory for West Indies moved them level on two points in Group F with Australia and Sri Lanka, who play later today. If Sri Lanka win that match India will be eliminated.