Windies rout Australia in T20

2009-06-06 18:43
Chris Gayle (File)

London - West Indies captain Chris Gayle made a brilliant 88 as his side beat Australia by seven wickets in their ICC World Twenty20 Group C opener at the Oval on Saturday.

The West Indies, chasing 170 for victory, finished on 172 for three with more than four overs to spare.

After an early season which saw Gayle's commitment questioned as his side were hammered in Tests and one-dayers by England, this 50-ball innings, featuring six sixes and six fours, was a timely reminder of the left-handed opener's quality.

Gayle shared a superb stand of 133 - the third highest in all Twenty20 internationals - with Andre Fletcher (53) for the first wicket.

But the platform for victory was laid right at the start of the match when Jerome Taylor removed both Shane Watson and Australia captain Ricky Ponting for ducks in the first over.

Defeat left Australia with a make-or-break clash against Sri Lanka on Monday at Trent Bridge if they were to get out of the group.

Gayle, who in the opening match of the 2007 tournament became the first and only batsman to score a Twenty20 international hundred, against South Africa, began the West Indies' pursuit by driving the first ball of the innings from Brett Lee through mid-off for four.

He then crashed the third over backward point for another boundary.

Worryingly for Australia, Fletcher was also in good touch. He drove left-arm quick Mitchell Johnson for four straight back over the bowler's head and next ball lofted him for six over square leg.

Fletcher though should have been out for 22 when he hit a steepling skyer off Johnson but the normally reliable Michael Hussey, at mid-on, misjudged the chance and the ball dropped over his head.

Gayle then brought up the West Indies' fifty with a majestic six off Lee that soared out of the ground and two balls later struck the fast bowler for another huge drive.

A Lee no-ball was smashed over extra-cover and then, even more ferociously, Gayle drove the next delivery down the ground for four.

Gayle then pulled Lee for six to end a fifth over where 27 runs were scored.

In all, Lee's four overs went for a hugely expensive 56 runs.

Ponting, without all-rounder Andrew Symonds, sent home after an alcohol-related incident, turned to off-spinner David Hussey. But Gayle responded with two sixes, over long-off and extra-cover, in four balls

Fletcher then flat-batted Mitchell Johnson to the mid-wicket boundary only to fall next ball when he skied the bowler to David Hussey to end a 32-ball innings featuring a six and seven fours.

West Indies were in sight of victory, and Gayle his hundred, when the captain holed out to Watson off Lee.

Australia slumped to 15 for three before David Warner's 63 helped them to 169 for seven.

Watson chipped the third ball of the innings to Ramnaresh Sarwan at mid-off and, after a couple of wides, Taylor had Ponting lbw hitting across the line.


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