Gayle, Sammy sparkle as West Indies post thrilling win over Aussies

Gayle, Sammy sparkle as West Indies post thrilling win over Aussies

Could West Indies have scripted a better finish to their grudge match against Australia?

As soon as Darren Sammy sent the trash-talking James Faulkner high into the dark sky, the entire West Indies team broke into Gangnam dance with Chris Gayle leading the over-the-top celebrations.

Chasing Australia’s stiff 178 for eight, West Indies replied with 179 for four for their second win in three matches in Group 2 here on Friday.

The win helped them stay in contention for a semifinal berth while Australia’ second defeat in as many matches seriously jeopardised their hopes of advancing to the last-four stage.   

Faulkner should have known better than to stir the Caribbean players. His comments that he didn’t particularly like the West Indies didn’t go down well with Sammy and his men.

They appeared determined for retribution, exemplified by Gayle (53, 35b, 6x4, 2x6) and man-of-the-match Sammy (34 n.o., 13b, 2x4, 3x6). With 31 needed off the final two overs, the task appeared uphill if not impossible. Sammy, however, wasn’t going to allow the Aussies to have the last laugh. The right-hander took 19 off the penultimate over bowled by paceman Mitchell Starc, leaving them with an equation of 12 off the last over bowled by Faulkner.

The first two deliveries, well-directed yorkers, were dots and the pressure reached the boiling point. In his attempt to fire another toe-crusher, Faulkner missed the length and the full-toss was smashed over long-off fence. Now, six runs off three balls. The fourth ball was bludgeoned straight over the sight screen and the entire West Indies squad trooped on to the ground. The DJ played the Gangnam song immediately and the ecstatic West Indians danced to its tune. It wasn’t the final but it must have felt equally sweet. 
      
Electing to bat first, Australia were off to a blazing start with Aaron Finch laying into Samuel Badree in the second over of the innings. The right-hander lifted the leg-spinner over long off fence for the maximum and then cut him for two consecutive fours. His partner David Warner creamed Krishmar Santokie for three fours in as many balls as Australia gathered 26 runs in six balls spread over second and third overs.

The introduction of Marlon Samuels did the trick for Windies. The off-spinner cleaned up an overambitious Finch and it wasn’t long before Warner met with a similar fate when the left-hander failed to put away Badree’s grubber. Perhaps expecting a googly, Warner made room to cut it away but the ball held its line and crashed into the lower half of the middle stump.

The wily Sunil Narine (2/19 off four overs) ended Shane Watson’s unconvincing stint when Denesh Ramdin remained alert to the situation to stump the lax batsman. Ramdin had missed a chance to stump on his natural follow-through but with Watson making little effort to drag his foot back into the crease, the wicket-keeper clipped the bails and left Australia at a shaky 41 for three.    
 
Glenn Maxwell, who had pulverised the Pakistani attack in a high-scoring match the other night, played another stroke-filled knock to put the Aussie innings back on track. The diminutive batsman stayed unflustered despite three quick dismissals and raced to 45 (22b, 5x4, 3x6) in no time. Veteran Brad Hodge justified his inclusion in the side with a 26-ball 35 that helped Australia keep up the pace after Maxwell’s departure.

Score board

AUSTRALIA

Finch b Samuels    16
Warner b Badree    20
Watson St Ramdin b Narine    2
Maxwell c Bravo b Badree    45
Bailey c Sammy b Samuels    12
Hodge b Narine    35
Faulkner c Bravo b Santokie    13
Haddin (not out)    15
Starc c Russell b Bravo    4
Muirhead (not out)    1
Extras (B-2, W-7, NB-6)    15
Total (for 8 wkts, 20 overs)    178
Fall of wickets: 1-33, 2-41, 3-41, 4-77, 5-100, 6-152, 7-154, 8-171,  
Bowling: Santokie 4-0-30-1, Badree 4-0-37-2, Samuels 2-0-20-2, Narine 4-1-19-2, Sammy 1-0-16-0, Bravo 4-0-39-1, Russell 1-0-15-0.   

WEST INDIES

Smith c Haddin b Starc    17
Gayle c Maxwell b Muirhead    53
Simmons c Maxwell b Bollinger    26
Samuels c Haddin b Starc    12
Bravo (not out)    27
Sammy (not out)    34
Extras (B-2, LB-6, W-2)    10
Total (for 4 wkts, 19.4 overs)    179
Fall of wickets: 1-50, 2-101, 3-107, 4-130.
Bowling: Watson 2-1-11-0, Starc 4-0-50-2, Bollinger 4-0-34-1, Maxwell 3-0-28-0, Faulkner 3.4-0-27-0, Muirhead 3-0-21-1.

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