Gros Islet (St. Lucia): The Australian juggernaut rolls on. Michael Clarke's men outplayed the West Indies by six wickets to top the group with three victories and enter the semifinals of the ICC World Twenty20 here on Tuesday night.
Australia and Sri Lanka qualified for the last four stage from Group ‘F.' The West Indies, requiring to defeat Australia by 24 runs to edge out Sri Lanka, was never in the hunt.
Once the West Indians had been blown away for 105, the verdict of the contest was never in question. Impressive leg-spinning all-rounder Steven Smith was adjudged Man of the Match.
The West Indies put up a fight on the field after its tame batting display but the Australians were always going to nail the chase.
There were some moments for the crowd to celebrate though. Left-handed opener David Warner — he smashed a flat-batted straight six off Jerome Taylor — was well held at slip by Chris Gayle off the paceman.
Shane Watson, attempting to sweep a delivery bowled from round-the-wicket by left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn, gloved the ball on to the stumps. And Dwayne Bravo, after making a sensational stop at short third man, fired in a precise throw to run out Michael Clarke. Brad Haddin (42 off 46) struck the ball in a manner that was pleasing before being caught by Darren Sammy off Gayle at the doorstep of victory.
Cave in meekly
The West Indian batsmen, earlier, caved in meekly, leaving the vocal home supporters disappointed.
Much hinged on Chris Gayle but the influential left-hander was walking back mid-way through the first over. Dirk Nannes got one to cut back off the seam and Gayle, playing with little feet movement, heard the rattle of the timber.
Nannes impressed with his air-speed. This was a different surface and the left-armer, rightly, did not bang it in short. He was testing the batsmen with scorching air-speed — he sent down a fair number of full length deliveries and yorkers.
Slinger Shaun Tait did not make matters easier for the West Indians. And left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson struck deadly blows.
West Indies: C. Gayle b Nannes 4 ( 2b, 1x4), S. Chanderpaul c D. Hussey b Johnson 24 ( 18b, 4x4), R. Sarwan c Warner b D. Hussey 26 ( 31b, 2x4), D. Bravo (run out) 6 ( 9b), N. Deonarine c M. Hussey b Smith 0 ( 2b), D. Ramdin c Haddin b Johnson 1 ( 2b), K. Pollard st. Haddin b Smith 13 ( 14b, 1x4, 1x6), D. Sammy c & b Smith 0 ( 1b), J. Taylor c Johnson b D. Hussey 3 ( 7b), N. Miller (not out) 10 ( 13b), S. Benn b Watson 9 ( 16b, 1x6); Extras (lb-4, w-4, nb-1): 9. Total (in 19 overs): 105.
Fall of wickets: 1-5, 2-39, 3-52, 4-56, 5-60, 6-77, 7-77, 8-82, 9-85.
Australia bowling: Nannes 3-0-19-1, Tait 3-0-12-0, Watson 2-0-13-1, Johnson 4-0-22-2, Smith 4-0-20-3, Clarke 2-0-12-0, D. Hussey 1-0-3-2.
Australia: D. Warner c Gayle b Taylor 25 ( 12b, 4x4, 1x6), S. Watson b Benn 5 ( 7b), M. Clarke (run out) 16 ( 24b), B. Haddin c Sammy b Gayle 42 ( 46b, 5x4), D. Hussey (not out) 10 ( 9b, 1x4), C. White (not out) 0 ( 0b); Extras (w-11): 11. Total (for four wkts. in 16.2 overs): 109.
Fall of wickets: 1-31, 2-31, 3-78, 4-104.
West Indies bowling: Taylor 4-0-47-1, Benn 4-1-12-1, Miller 4-0-16-0, Bravo 1-0-11-0, Deonarine 2-0-15-0, Sammy 1-0-3-0, Gayle 0.2-0-5-1 .