World Cup

Lucky Simmons sees West Indies through

No team has won a Twenty20 International at the Wankhede Stadium after losing the toss.

India made a strong case to reverse the trend, but Lendl Simmons had other ideas. West Indies won the World Twenty20 semifinal encounter by seven wickets and two balls to spare.

Man-of-the-match Simmons, who led a charmed life — twice out on a no ball — led the charge with a 51-ball 83 not out. His knock included seven fours and five sixes.

Andre Russell 43 (20b, 3x5, 4x6), who hit the winning run, gave Simmons good company from the 14th over when the West Indies was 116 for three.

Superb yorker

When Chris Gayle went for 5 done in by a superb yorker by Jasprit Bumrah, India hopes soared.

Bumrah then thought he had Simmons of a low catch off Ashwin only to realise the offie had bowled a no-ball.

That turned out to be a turning point of the game, for Simmons led West Indies through to its second final of the tournament.

India put up a challenging total thanks to a cohesive top-order effort led by the unstoppable Virat Kohli, by putting on 192 for two.

With the West Indies having made easy meat of a target of 183 set by England in the group stage, it may not look like much.

Surprise selection

India began the evening by springing a surprise, roping in Ajinkya Rahane in a struggling Shikhar Dhawan’s place instead of including Manish Pandey in place of the injured Yuvraj Singh.

The move came as a surprise since Rahane had been warming the bench all through the league stage.

However, the Mumbai batsman played his role to perfection by holding up one end and letting Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli take the attack to the opposition.

After a relatively sedate start, Sharma took on Andre Russell in the last of the PowerPlay overs.

The stylish batsman pulled a high full-toss over backward square and followed it up with a lofted six to the right of the sightscreen off what was a free hit. The over yielded 20 runs, resulting in India’s best PowerPlay total of the tournament — 55 for no loss.

When Sharma was trapped in front by Samuel Badree just when he was set to cut loose, in came Kohli, in the eighth over.

This was the latest he was taking guard in the tournament but such stupendous form was he in that at the end of the innings, Kohli had not only registered his highest score in WT20s but found himself just one run short of his personal best of 90 in T20Is.

The secret of India’s huge total did not lie in the 17 fours and four sixes the four batsmen combined to get, but the number of ones and twos they ran.

That the innings saw only 26 dot balls speaks a lot about the manner in which the Indians sprinted between wickets.

The last over also elucidated it, with Dhoni and Kohli — whose unbeaten 27-ball 64-run association saw just one dot ball — adding 12 runs despite hitting just one boundary.


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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 8:33:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/world-cup/lucky-simmons-sees-west-indies-through/article8418942.ece

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