West Indies’ impressive performance against India would have given their fans hope to seeing their team in the final four. Alas, it turned out to be a mirage as the home team were back to their incongruous ways against the mighty Australians.
Not only did they succumb to a heavy six-wicket defeat, but also crushed their chances of make it to the semi-finals after Lanka beat India by five-wickets. West Indies’ hero in the last game, skipper Chris Gayle, could not get it right against their old rivals and his failure led to West Indies’ magnanimous collapse.
They crumbed to 105 all out, a target which was effortlessly achieved by the Aussies inside 17 overs.
The win means they go into the semi-finals against Pakistan on Friday with a clean slate, and their chances of capturing the elusive T20 crown look rather bright from hereon.
Australia did not have to do much to qualify for the semis. Even a narrow defeat would have not hindered their progress. But, as is the Aussie culture, they were keen to finish the Super Eights on a high.
Thus, David Warner blasted 25 in 12 balls with the assistance of four boundaries and a huge six over to get the Aussies off to an incredible start even while chasing a miniscule total.
Warner’s dismissal was soon followed by Shane Watson’s, who dragged one from Sulieman Benn onto his stumps. But, there wasn’t much joy for West Indies thereafter.
Brad Haddin crafted a mature 46-ball 42 to grind out the Windies. Haddin departed just prior to the target being achieved, the match eventually ended in an inauspicious manner with skipper Gayle bowling five wides.
Haddin apart, Australia captain Michael Clarke chipped in with 16 from 24 balls before being disappointingly run-out. But, David Hussey registered a calm 10 not out to see the Aussies past the finishing line.
For West Indies, it was the story of one man’s failure resulting in the collapse of the whole team. And that one man was Gayle himself, who dragged a lethal Dirk Nannes delivery onto his stumps.
The rest followed suit as if they were just there to fill in the places. Praise though needs to be reserved for Australia’s potent bowling attack too who never allowed the Windies batsmen to settle.
The home team faltered to 60 for 5 at the halfway stage of their innings and needed something special from Kieron Pollard to post a decent target. That wasn’t to be though.
After Mitchell Johnson did the early damage, removing Shivnarine Chanderpaul for 24, leg spinner Steven Smith took over and crushed West Indies’ chances even further.
He sent back Pollard and Darren Sammy off successive deliveries. And, though he failed to get the hat-trick, his three-wicket effort was enough put Australia on the victory path. For the batting side only Ramnaresh Sarwan put up a fight, collecting 26 from 32 balls.
Unfortunately, there was no support at all from the other end. A 20-run stand between Nikita Miller and Benn enabled West Indies to cross 100. But, by then, irreparable damage had already been done and Australia merely finished off the formalities with the bat.
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