Watson’s big hits do the trick as the Kangaroos prevail by D/L method
It rained big hits at the R. Premadasa Stadium with marauders like Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels and Shane Watson flexing their bats. As if on cue, the skies opened up too and nature had the last word with the Duckworth/Lewis method becoming the final arbiter in the ICC World Twenty20 Group B match between Australia and the West Indies here on Saturday night.
Chasing the West Indies’ 191 for eight, Australia scored 100 for one in 9.1 overs when the weather gods ruined the party. At that juncture, Australia was well ahead of the par score of 83 for one as stipulated by the D/L method and was declared as having won the match by 17 runs.
The Australian chase galloped initially through David Warner as he inflicted maximum damage to the second over (22 runs) bowled by Ravi Rampaul. Another mighty heave against Fidel Edwards undid Warner, but Shane Watson and Michael Hussey propelled the scoreboard and also kept the stifling threat of Sunil Narine at bay.
Watson (41 n.o., 24b, 2x4, 3x6) hoisted Narine and cut loose against Samuels in an over that went for 22 runs and proved costly for the West Indies.
Earlier Gayle’s storm and Samuels’ finesse aligned with Dwayne Bravo’s quickfire 27 to bolster the West Indies. In the first over, Watson hit Gayle’s helmet as the opener opted to start slow before unfurling his repertoire of bruising shots.
And while Gayle (54, 33b, 5x4, 4x6) remained cautious, left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc castled Dwayne Smith. Johnson Charles then took over the mantle of clipping quick runs off Starc, who also despaired over a diving Watson’s failure to catch a skier from Gayle.
The reprieve on four was the perfect cue-card for Gayle to harass the Australians. His first four came off the 10th delivery he faced, a rapier strike past point off Pat Cummins. And soon it was business as usual for Gayle while Charles left after feathering Daniel Christian straight towards the stumps.
Samuels stepped in and watched Gayle thump Christian and cart spinners Brad Hogg and Glenn Maxwell. The sixes, three in that phase, were lapped up by a near full-house, the best turnout the venue has witnessed over this week. At the other end, Samuels (50, 32b, 3x4, 4x6) square-drove Christian and it seemed to be the ‘passing of the baton’ moment as Gayle departed shortly.
Samuels soon revealed his class as Christian was scattered over cover and long-off. Hogg was lofted with aplomb and when Watson tried to hustle Samuels, a withering pull regaled the crowd.
Samuels perished while trying to cart Hogg again, but the big hits continued from Bravo and Sammy too chipped in (12, 7b, 1x4, 1x6) as the West Indies notched up a challenging score that was negated by the inclement weather and ‘Man-of-the-match’ Watson’s fury.
West Indies: D. Smith b Starc 2 (5b), C. Gayle c & b Watson 54 (33b, 5x4, 4x6), J. Charles b Christian 16 (12b, 2x4, 1x6), M. Samuels c Warner b Hogg 50 (32b, 3x4, 4x6), Dwayne Bravo b Cummins 27 (21b, 1x4, 1x6), K. Pollard c Hussey b Watson 10 (8b, 2x4), D. Sammy c Warner b Starc 12 (7b, 1x4, 1x6), D. Ramdin b Starc 3 (2b), R. Rampaul (not out) 0 (0b), S. Narine (not out) 4 (1b, 1x4); Extras (lb-10, w-2, nb-1): 13; Total (for eight wkts., in 20 overs): 191.
Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Smith), 2-47 (Charles), 3-93 (Gayle), 4-140 (Samuels), 5-162 (Pollard), 6-171 (Dwayne Bravo), 7-187 (Sammy), 8-187 (Ramdin).
Australia bowling: Watson 4-0-29-2, Starc 4-0-35-3, Cummins 4-1-41-1, Christian 3-0-29-1, Hogg 4-0-30-1, Maxwell 1-0-17-0.
Australia: D. Warner c Ramdin b Edwards 28 (14b, 3x4, 2x6), S. Watson (not out) 41 (24b, 2x4, 3x6), M. Hussey (not out) 28 (19b, 3x4, 1x6); Extras (w-1, nb-2): 3; Total (for one wkt., in 9.1 overs): 100.
Fall of wicket: 1-30 (Warner).
West Indies bowling: Edwards 2-0-16-1, Rampaul 1.1-0-23-0, Narine 2-0-16-0, Sammy 2-0-15-0, Samuels 1-0-22-0, Bravo 1-0-8-0.
Man-of-the-match: S. Watson.
Keywords: Twenty20 World Cup