Wonderful Windies announce themselves
West Indies confirmed their expected threat with a Chris Gayle-inspired demolition of Australia to set up a World Twenty20 final with hosts Sri Lanka.
The Windies had progressed to the semi-finals with just one outright win from five games. Although their opener was a somewhat unfortunate Duckworth/Lewis loss to today’s opponents, they relied on a Super-Over defeat of New Zealand to reach this stage.
Gayle had form versus Australia with 54 of 191 for eight in their first meeting at the same venue and, despite being hampered by a side strain, flayed an unbeaten 75 from 41 deliveries featuring six of 12 maximums in a commanding 205 for four.
On a slow surface at Colombo’s Premadasa Stadium that had mainly hampered high totals, the left-handed opening batsman led the way with strong support from Marlon Samuels, Darren Bravo and Kieron Pollard. They were aided by indifferent bowling and fielding.
Faced with the pressure of needing to score at more than 10 an over, Australia slumped to 43 for six in the eighth and, although captain George Bailey’s 29-ball 63 offered hope, they were dismissed for 131 in 16.4.
Impressive seamer Ravi Rampaul deservedly ended proceedings for figures of 3-16 after Samuel Badree, Sunil Narine and Pollard each struck twice.
Windies skipper Darren Sammy said: “We did what we had to do to get to the semis and it’s good that in the most important game for us everybody turned up.
“They way Chris and Marlon played in their innings set it up really nicely for us and the bowling just turned up today. We played our game and we needed that to beat Australia. It’s just a good feeling to be in the final.”
Bailey added: “We were absolutely outplayed and full credit to West Indies. They deserve to be playing the final for sure.”
Sammy won the toss and announced Bravo had replaced brother Darren as a specialist batsman. Australia also made one change with David Hussey coming in for Glenn Maxwell.
Johnson Charles, who had most of the early strike, took Shane Watson for two leg-side fours in three balls before being caught behind off Mitchell Starc.
Watson had a close lbw shout against Gayle, who responded with his first maximum over long-off. Samuels initially lived dangerously against Xavier Doherty, surviving a strong leg before appeal, but he and Gayle each hit the spinner for leg-side sixes as the powerplay yielded 46.
Samuels’ second maximum, dead straight off Brad Hogg, was his last as he was deceived and bowled middle stump by Pat Cummins’ slower delivery to depart for 26.
Gayle, aside from striking Doherty for a straight six, consolidated along with Bravo, who then upped the ante by clearing the rope off Watson and Hogg.
Gayle followed suit in collecting 19 from a David Hussey over but Bravo, immediately after lobbing long-off, was held at extra-cover for 37 off Cummins.
From 150 for three from 17 overs, Gayle and Pollard accelerated further. Cummins went for 13, Starc 17 and Doherty a harrowing 25 - featuring four sixes - although he had the small consolation of Pollard being caught at long-off for 38 from the last ball.
Badree soon pegged Australia back by bowling David Warner. Mike Hussey picked up three fours, but Samuels had him caught and bowled via a top-edged sweep and next over Badree knocked out the in-form Watson’s leg stump.
Although Bailey got going with two consecutive straight fours off Samuels, with 42 taken from the powerplay, he saw Cameron White taken behind and David Hussey caught and bowled for nought in Ravi Rampaul’s first over. Matthew Wade then top-edged Narine to backward square-leg to leave Australia six down.
Bailey countered, including with 25 from Andre Russell’s sole over. Yet, having lifted Sammy for a fourth six, the skipper holed out to leg off Pollard - who next ball had Cummins taken at extra-cover.
Hogg was soon stumped off Narine and Rampaul bowled Starc to book a return trip for Sunday’s final.