Windies knock out Aussies in a canter
West Indies cricketer Ravi Rampaul (R) and captain Darren Sammy (L). AFP PHOTO/ LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI
Calypso cricket is back with a vengeance on the back of Chris Gayle as the Windies cruised into the ICC World Twenty20 final after thumping Australia by 74 runs in Colombo last night.
Despite a groin injury, the 33-year-old Gayle was both masterful and majestic as he mauled the Australian attack to crack an unbeaten 74 off only 41 deliveries with five boundaries and six massive sixes.
Batting right through the innings, Gayle only faced a third of the strike, yet made the most of every opportunity.
But for the Windies to amass 3-205, Gayle needed powerful partners-in-crime, and he got just that through Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, and Kieron Pollard: Samuels’ 26 off 20, with two boundaries and two sixes, Bravo’s 37 off 31, with one boundary and three sixes, and especially Pollard’s 38 off 15, with three fours and three sixes.
In the end, the Windies pounded 13 boundaries, and 14 sixes, with superb clean hitting, and no Australian bowler was spared.
Mitchell Starc went for 8 an over, Watson for 8.5, Pat Cummins for 9, Brad Hogg for 7, and David Hussey for 11.
You couldn’t help but feel sorry for left arm orhtodox Xavier Doherty who had to bowl the 20th over with 0-23 against his name off just two.
The inevitable happended: Ball 1 (Gayle six), Ball 2 (Gayle single) Ball 3 (Pollard six) Ball 4 (Pollard six) Ball 5 (Pollard six), and Pollard was caught by David Warner at deep straight hit off the final delivery.
Doherty finished with 1-48 off three, with 25 plundered off that final over.
Chasing 206 for victory at 10.3 runs an over, the cause was crucified very quickly.
When Warner went for 1 in the first over, Mike Hussey for 17 in the third, Shane Watson for 5 in the fourth, Cameron White for 5 in sixth, David Hussey for a duck two balls later, and Matt Wade for 1 in the seventh, it was all over bar the shouting at 6-43.
It was left to skipper George Bailey to play a lone hand of substance by smashing 63 off only 29 with six fours and four sixes – the only majors by the Australians.
It wasn’t easy watching the Australians being so savagely treated, but the Windies batting was out of this world and had to be admired.
And they backed it up with steady wicket-taking bowling to warm up for the final against host nation Sri Lanka on Sunday.
The final should be a cracker of a game, with the two best and most exciting teams reaching the decider.
The big-hitting clash between Chris Gayle and Kumar Sangakkara would be worth the admission price alone.