Australia advance after rain-hit match
Australia sealed their place in the Super Eights of the ICC World T20 when they beat West Indies by 17 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method in Colombo on Saturday.
Full Scorecard: Australia v West Indies
Despite a fierce batting onslaught by the West Indies, Australia claimed the honours as rain came down to end the match almost half-way through.
West Indies won the toss and decided to bat first, but had a shaky start with Dwayne Smith being dismissed in the second over. Mitchell Starc did the damage with a ball which cut back and rattled Smith’s furniture, sending the right-hander on his way for two.
Patrick Cummins was tasked to bowl the first over to the new batsman, Johnson Charles, who came out swinging, but missed everything, gifting Cummins a maiden first up.
Chris Gayle was looking cautious at the other end, but that all changed after he was dropped by Shane Watson running in from third man in the fourth over. The floodgates opened and the nervy Charles managed a four and a six to end the over to settle some nerves.
The Gayle show then started and the Jamaican took 18 runs off Cummins’s second over, hitting three fours and one six with ease as the Windies looked back in control at 43-1 after five overs.
Dan Christian replaced Starc and Charles continued the hemorrhaging of runs with another four towards short fine leg, but the bowler won the battle the very next ball, angling one into the batsman and getting just a little bit of extra bounce which had Charles chopping onto his stumps.
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There was no stopping Gayle, though, as he continued to hit all the bowlers to all ends of the park, racing to 51 off 26 balls to propel the West Indies to 80-2 in just eight overs.
Marlon Samuels and Gayle continued to nudge the runs to keep the scoreboard ticking over, but it was Watson who eventually got the breakthrough Australia desperately needed.
Returning to the attack, Watson bowled short of a length with Gayle looking to work the ball away for a single, but he got a leading edge and Watson ran across to extra cover to take a catch off his own bowling. Gayle was sent back to the dugout for a handy 54 off 33, leaving Samuels and Dwayne Bravo out in the middle to continue to build on the foundations set by the openers.
The two combined for a 47-run partnership, with Samuels notching up his 50 off just 31 balls, before being dismissed by Brad Hogg after mishitting the ball to long-on.
With the score at 140-4 and less than five overs remaining to push, the lower order did their bit to push the Windies to 191-8 in 20 overs, despite two wickets in two balls from Starc in the final over.
David Warner got the chase off to a blistering start and Australia took 22 runs off the second over as Ravi Rampaul failed to get anything right.
Fidel Edwards ended the charge the very next over when Warner was given out caught behind. A big swing from the opener prompted Asud Rauf to give him out after Warner had stood his ground, not convinced that he had nicked the ball. Watson and Michael Hussey then combined to help take Australia to 100-1 after 9.1 overs with sloppy bowling and fielding from the West Indies dominating proceedings.
The heavens then opened up with Australia 17 runs ahead on Duckworth-Lewis. The rain persisted and the honours went to Australia with Watson stranded on an unbeaten 41 off just 24 balls.
AUSTRALIA: DA Warner, SR Watson, MEK Hussey, GJ Bailey (capt), CL White, GJ Maxwell, MS Wade (wk), DT Christian, GB Hogg, PJ Cummins, MA Starc
WEST INDIES: CH Gayle, DR Smith, J Charles, MN Samuels, DJ Bravo, KA Pollard, DJG Sammy (capt), D Ramdin (wk), SP Narine, R Rampaul, FH Edwards