West Indies beats Australia to reach T20 final
(AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
By KRISHAN FRANCIS
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) An imperious Chris Gayle hit six sixes and five boundaries in an unbeaten 75 as the West Indies crushed Australia by 74 runs on Friday to secure a place in the World Twenty20 final against Sri Lanka.
Gayle's performance helped the West Indies to a formidable 205-4 in their 20 overs. Australia was then bowled out for 131 with 20 balls to spare in the second semifinal at R. Premadasa Stadium, which will also host Sunday's final.
Player of the match Gayle faced 41 deliveries and shared 83 runs with Dwayne Bravo (37) for the third wicket and put on 65 off 25 balls with Kieron Pollard. Pollard's 38 off 15 balls helped West Indies become the first team of this tournament to pass the 200-run mark. The previous best score was 196-5 by England against low-ranked Afghanistan.
Along with driving up the West Indies total, Gayle's performance also eased the pressure on his fellow batsmen.
"It was actually a slow track so to be there till the end was helpful for the rest of the guys to come and play around me," said Gayle, who acknowledged his cautious opening to his innings.
"It was a slow start. I didn't get that sort of strike which I needed in the first six overs," Gayle said. But he added: "It was important I didn't panic and lose focus in that particular area."
Australia captain George Bailey was straightforward in his verdict.
"We were absolutely outplayed," he said. "Gayle was subdued for a while but while he's at the crease he's always in your mind. But we set ourselves to get to the semi-finals and I don't think there's one area specifically where we can improve on. But from tonight you can probably say all three."
To chase down such a daunting target, Australian openers Shane Watson and David Warner needed to put on another fiery performance at this tournament.
However, they were dealt an early blow when leg spin bowler Samuel Badree removed Warner with just two runs on the board. The ball missed Warner's outside edge and clipped the off stump on its way to the wicketkeeper. He was adjudged out by English television umpire Richard Kettleborough after viewing replays.
Watson and Mike Hussey showed some promise, sharing 22 runs off 13 balls, but off spinner Marlon Samuels had Hussey caught and bowled for 18.
Watson was then bowled by Badree for seven, leaving Australia three down for 29. Three more wickets fell for just 14 runs, from where Australia had little real chance of recovering despite a spirited 63 off 29 deliveries by captain Bailey who shared 68 runs with No. 8 batsman Pat Cummins (13).
Bailey hit four sixes and six boundaries for his maiden Twenty20 international half-century.
However, seam bowler Pollard dismissed both men in consecutive deliveries to end any chance of an Australian win.
Seamer Ravi Rampaul returned West Indies' best bowling figures with 3-16. Badree, his fellow spinner Sunil Narine and Pollard all picked up two wickets each.
Despite rattling up an impressive total by end of their innings, West Indies batsmen got off to a nervous start against the Australian seamers after their captain Darren Sammy opted to bat first after winning the toss.
But they soon broke loose with some attacking shots.
Opener Johnson Charles made 10 before edging a delivery from Mitchell Starc to wicketkeeper Mathew Wade with the total on 16.
Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar turned down a close lbw appeal against Marlon Samuels by Doherty. Samuels, who was eight not out, then scored 26 runs off 20 balls before being bowled by seamer Cummins.
Gayle and Pollard took on left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty in the last over, hitting a total of four sixes. Pollard hit three of them. Cummins had Australia's best figures with two wickets for 36.
Updated October 5, 2012