Gayle & Co. bat with gay abandon to post a huge score; Australia caves in without a fight

Off-field issues and the salacious delight that pervades sections of the media when a man’s personal life becomes part of the public gaze hardly deterred Chris Gayle from revealing his primary goal in life — mauling bowlers.

That philosophy was again on view as the belligerent opener’s unbeaten 75 (41b, 5x4, 6x6) set a powerful platform for the West Indies to defeat Australia by 74 runs in the ICC World Twenty20 semifinal at the R. Premadasa Stadium here on Friday.

Once its big three — Shane Watson, David Warner and Michael Hussey — were back in the dugout with just 29 on the board while spinners Samuel Badree and Marlon Samuels dominated the early overs, Australia was never in contention.

Bailey’s lone hand

The huge total that the West Indies posted — 205 for four, left no scope for recovery and though George Bailey (63, 29b, 6x4, 4x6) waged a lone hand and even hammered Andre Russell in an over that went for 25 runs, the Australian captain and his men could only muster 131.

Gayle was a brooding presence in the lead-up to the game. He batted against throw-downs, gingerly warmed up and once Sammy opted to bat, the opener bided his time while Johnson Charles succumbed to Mitchell Starc. Gayle still seemed to be in a meditative mood but it was the proverbial lull before the storm.

Samuels started the fire with a four off Pat Cummins and then Gayle hoisted Watson. The immediate aftermath was a flurry of sixes with Xavier Doherty and Brad Hogg’s opening overs triggering three massive hits. Cummins then castled Samuels but the 47-run second-wicket partnership off 27 balls however had set a nice tempo for the West Indies.

Promptly Dwayne Bravo crashed Hogg for four, Gayle lofted Doherty into the skies and the opener also showed that he is not just about muscular shots.

Soft hands and a turn of the wrist helped Gayle flick Watson for four. The frenzy quadrupled once David Hussey came on for his second spell.

A four was thumped and with five men on the ropes, waiting for the swirling shot, Gayle made them look foolish with a clout that sailed deep into the top-most tier. There was no respite for Hussey as he bowled a shade wide on seeing Gayle trying to make room but the opener paused mid-stride and guided the ball past short third-man.

And from across the seas, the world’s fastest man and fellow-Jamaican Usain Bolt tweeted: “Good going West Indies…Gayle u know how Jamaicans do it…”

Meanwhile, after a cameo that helped the West Indies stay in the fast lane, Bravo fell to Cummins. Most importantly, Bravo’s third-wicket partnership with Gayle churned up 83 runs off just 51 balls.

The mayhem continued unabated as Kieron Pollard hammered three sixes off Doherty in the last over that went for 25 runs and Australia never recovered.

Scoreboard

West Indies: J. Charles c Wade b Starc 10 (13b, 2x4), C. Gayle (not out) 75 (41b, 5x4, 6x6), M. Samuels b Cummins 26 (20b, 2x4, 2x6), D. Bravo c Bailey b Cummins 37 (31b, 1x4, 3x6), K. Pollard c Warner b Doherty 38 (15b, 3x4, 3x6); Extras (b-6, lb-5, w-8): 19; Total (for four wkts. in 20 overs): 205.

Fall of wickets: 1-16 (Charles), 2-57 (Samuels), 3-140 (Bravo), 4-205 (Pollard).

Australia bowling: Starc 4-0-32-1, Watson 4-0-35-0, Cummins 4-0-36-2, Doherty 3-0-48-1, Hogg 3-0-21-0, D. Hussey 2-0-22-0.

Australia: D. Warner b Badree 1 (3b), S. Watson b Badree 7 (9b, 1x4), M. Hussey c & b Samuels 18 (12b, 3x4), C. White c Ramdin b Rampaul 5 (6b), G. Bailey c Russell b Pollard 63 (29b, 6x4, 4x6), D. Hussey c & b Rampaul 0 (2b), M. Wade c Badree b Narine 1 (5b), P. Cummins c Charles b Pollard 13 (15b, 1x4), M. Starc b Rampaul 2 (5b), B. Hogg st. Ramdin b Narine 7 (7b), X. Doherty (not out) 9 (7b, 1x4); Extras (lb-3, w-2): 5; Total (in 16.4 overs): 131.

Fall of wickets: 1-2 (Warner), 2-22 (M. Hussey), 3-29 (Watson), 4-42 (White), 5-42 (D. Hussey), 6-43 (Wade), 7-111 (Bailey), 8-111 (Cummins), 9-121 (Hogg).

West Indies bowling: Badree 4-0-27-2, Samuels 3-0-26-1, Rampaul 3.4-0-16-3, Narine 3-0-17-2, Russell 1-0-25-0, Sammy 1-0-11-0, Pollard 1-0-6-2.

Man-of-the-match: C. Gayle.

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