Pulls off final-over victory over Australia; Gayle, Bravo make crucial contributions
It seems Australia will have to wait two more years for another tilt at a first World Twenty20 title. Two years ago, its campaign had crashed to a juddering halt when it bumped into the West Indies in Colombo. At the Sher-e-Bangla stadium on Friday, it was laid low by the same opponent, sinking to a six-wicket defeat in an intense final over’s play.
The two camps had exchanged words in the lead-up with the result that West Indies — rightly or wrongly — was more than a little indignant. Emotions threatened to boil over at the end, with Chris Gayle breaking into perhaps the angriest rendition of ‘Gangnam Style’ ever seen.
It can be safely assumed the Australians do not doubt how he feels towards them.
Stirred up passions
Darren Sammy, his passions visibly stirred up, and Dwayne Bravo, with his flamboyant bat-swing, were the architects of the win with a rapid, late assault to turn the tide of the contest. Chasing 179 for victory, 31 were needed off the last two overs when Sammy took over. He struck Mitchell Starc way over long-on and followed that up with two fours as the equation narrowed to 12 off six balls.
James Faulkner, pantomime villain to the West Indies for professing his dislike for the team earlier, sent down a memorable final over.
Two dot balls were followed by two gigantic sixes from Sammy (34 n.o., 13b) as he sprinted off in the direction of the dug-out, whose occupants had already poured onto the field. Bravo flung his bat into the air mid-pitch and joined the celebrations, as a powder keg of victorious fury exploded.
Gayle on fire
At the start of the run chase, though, it felt like West Indies’s task was going to be a simple one. Gayle signalled his intent as early as the second over, stepping out to Starc to crunch four boundaries. Doug Bollinger was then dumped over fine-leg as the Caribbeans rushed to 46 in four overs. Gayle could have been stumped on 26, but Brad Haddin failed to gather the ball.
Australia started to claw things back after Dwayne Smith’s dismissal. Gayle was next removed by the young leg-spinner James Muirhead, while Lendl Simmons fell to a remarkable catch on the square-leg boundary by Glenn Maxwell. When Marlon Samuels was caught behind off Starc, West Indies still needed 49 off 21 balls. Sammy and Bravo, though, would not be beaten in that quest. Australia’s chances of making the semifinals from Group 2 are now virtually ruled out.
Earlier, for the first time this tournament at this venue, Australia batted on winning the toss. Such is the size of its batting arsenal that a wicket or two inflicts little lasting damage; one big gun after another simply rolls out of the dressing room and booms away.
David Warner and Aaron Finch landed the first blows as Australia hurtled to 28 by the end of the third over. They departed in quick succession, while Shane Watson too came and went, as their team sank to 41 for three in the Power Play overs.
In strode Maxwell, and like against Pakistan, swung away gloriously. Sammy was taken for 16 in an over and Samuels slog-swept into the stands. Maxwell died, too, by the sword, hitting one straight to Bravo on the fence. He made 45 in rapid time, with five fours and three sixes. Maxwell’s exit in the 12th over slowed things down but Brad Hodge kept things moving along with some sensible batting as Australia managed 178. It had seemed competitive, but perhaps extreme West Indian motivation had not been accounted for.
Australia: Aaron Finch b Samuels 16 (11b, 2x4, 1x6), David Warner b Badree 20 (14b, 4x4), Shane Watson st. Ramdin b Narine 2 (8b), Glenn Maxwell c Bravo b Badree 45 (22b, 5x4, 3x6), George Bailey c Sammy b Samuels 12 (12b, 1x6), Brad Hodge b Narine 35 (26b, 2x4, 1x6), James Faulkner c Bravo b Santokie 13 (17b, 1x4), Brad Haddin (not out) 15 (7b, 1x4, 1x6), Mitchell Starc c Russell b Bravo 4 (4b), James Muirhead (not out) 1 (1b); Extras (b-2, w-7, nb-6): 15; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs): 178.
Fall of wickets: 1-33 (Finch), 2-41 (Warner), 3-41 (Watson), 4-77 (Bailey), 5-100 (Maxwell), 6-152 (Hodge), 7-154 (Faulkner), 8-171 (Starc).
West Indies bowling: Krishmar Santokie 4-0-30-1, Samuel Badree 4-0-37-2, Marlon Samuels 2-0-20-2, Sunil Narine 4-1-19-2, Darren Sammy 1-0-16-0, Dwayne Bravo 4-0-39-1, Andre Russell 1-0-15-0.
West Indies: Dwayne Smith c Haddin b Starc 17 (19b, 4x4), Chris Gayle c Maxwell b Muirhead 53 (35b, 6x4, 2x6), Lendl Simmons c Maxwell b Bollinger 26 (24b, 3x4), Marlon Samuels c Haddin b Starc 12 (15b, 1x4), Dwayne Bravo (not out) 27 (12b, 2x4, 2x6), Darren Sammy (not out) 34 (13b, 2x4, 3x6); Extras (b-2, lb-6, w-2): 10; Total (for four wkts. in 19.4 overs): 179.
Fall of wickets: 1-50 (Smith), 2-101 (Gayle), 3-107 (Simmons), 4-130 (Samuels).
Australia bowling: Shane Watson 2-1-11-0, Mitchell Starc 4-0-50-2, Doug Bollinger 4-0-34-1, Glenn Maxwell 3-0-28-0, James Faulkner 3.4-0-27-0, James Muirhead 3-0-21-1.