Watson ensures rain puts Australia through
Australia progressed to the World Twenty20 Super Eights as Group B winners via a 17-run Duckworth/Lewis defeat of West Indies at Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium.
Shane Watson’s unbeaten 41 fronted a charge to 100 for one in pursuit of 192 when a terminal downpour in the 10th over forced the players off.
It was a disappointing end to a game that was shaping up for an exciting climax after Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels’ half-centuries aided an imposing 191 for eight. The Windies now face a winner-takes-all showdown with Ireland on Monday at the same venue.
Darren Sammy opted to bat first today only to see Mitchell Starc, who returned 3-35, produce a fine in-swinger that clipped the top of Dwayne Smith’s off-stump early on.
Watson dropped Gayle, on four, at third man in Starc’s next over and Johnson Charles hit 10 from the left-armer’s next two balls.
Gayle began to make Australia pay by taking 18 off Pat Cummins in the following over, but Dan Christian at least forced Charles to play on for 16 with a slower ball.
Boundaries came regularly for Gayle, who brought up his fifty from 26 deliveries, until Watson partially made amends for his spill by having the left-hander caught and bowled for 54 via a leading edge.
Samuels seized the initiative with four sixes in three overs but, having gone to 50 from 31 balls, holed out to long-on off Kyle Hogg without addition.
Mike Hussey’s athletic catch, running in from deep midwicket, gave Watson Kieron Pollard’s scalp and Dwayne Bravo, who had lifted Cummins over the cover rope, was cleaned up by the same bowler for 27.
Sammy had struck 12 from the first three balls of the last over when he holed out to long-on and Starc immediately bowled Denesh Ramdin, yet Sunil Narine prevented a hat-trick with the 26th boundary of the innings.
David Warner gave Australia’s chase early impetus with 22 from Ravi Rampaul’s first over, but was immediately caught behind for 28 attempting to drive Fidel Edwards.
Hussey and Watson ticked along nicely before the former picked up 21 of 22 runs from a Samuels over, although he was aided by Smith dropping him over the midwicket rope.
Watson had hit five boundaries in his 24 balls and Hussey had made 28 from 19 when the elements intervened.