Australia 100 for 1 (Watson 41*) beat West Indies 191 for 8 (Gayle 54, Samuels 50, Starc 3-35) by 17 runs (D/L method)
Another fine all-round effort from Shane Watson steered Australia into the Super Eights as they claimed a Duckworth-Lewis victory over West Indies in Colombo. Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels both scored quick half-centuries to set Australia a hefty target of 192 but a strong start from the Australians, who reached 100 for 1, was enough to ensure they were ahead when the rain started bucketing down in the tenth over of the chase.
On a day when South Africa and Sri Lanka’s match was reduced to an absurd seven-over-a-side battle, this game had all the ingredients for a thriller until the weather intervened. Australia were pursuing what would have been the fifth-highest successful run chase in T20 international history, while West Indies at the halfway mark appeared well-placed to open their campaign with a victory. They must now defeat Ireland on Monday to join Australia in the next stage.
Full report to follow
20 overs West Indies 191 for 8 (Gayle 54, Samuels 50, Starc 3-35) v Australia
Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels both blasted quick half-centuries to push West Indies to 191 for 8 in their opening match of the tournament against Australia in Colombo. West Indies entered the World Twenty20 as one of the favourites and after Darren Sammy chose to bat they showed precisely why, as their powerful batsmen found ways over the boundary or through the gaps regardless of what Australia’s bowlers tried.
Australia appeared to keep themselves in the game by getting rid of both Gayle and Samuels shortly after they had reached their fifties, although some late runs from Dwayne Bravo (27), Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy kept the scoreboard ticking. Australia needed the fifth-highest successful run chase in T20 international history in order to win the match and lock in their place in the Super Eights ahead of the West Indies v Ireland match.
Things started well for Australia as Mitchell Starc struck in the second over, bowling Dwayne Smith for 2 with a wonderful inswinger that took the top of off stump. The next over was a maiden from Pat Cummins as Johnson Charles looked all at sea and struggled to lay bat on the swinging ball, and at 11 for 1 from three overs Australia were thrilled with the opening.
But their plans started to fall apart in the fourth over when Gayle, who was yet to score a boundary, tried to launch Starc down the ground and succeeded only in skying a leading edge to third man, where Shane Watson ran in and dropped a difficult chance while diving forward. Charles pummelled the next ball for six over wide long-on and Gayle wasn’t far behind him.
Gayle found the boundary for the first time with a slice over point for four off Cummins and he took 18 off the over, with a couple more fours and a six pulled over square leg. In typical Gayle fashion he had allowed himself a few overs to acclimatise and then swiftly moved into top gear. He lost his partner Charles for 16 when Daniel Christian gained some extra bounce and the ball ricocheted off the glove and onto the stumps.
But the runs kept coming for Gayle, who lifted Brad Hogg over long-on for six with a nonchalant push and then greeted the offspinner Glenn Maxwell with another six over long-on from his first ball. Eighteen came off that Maxwell over, the last four from an inside edge that whizzed past the leg stump and the wicketkeeper for four and gave Gayle his half-century from 26 balls.
He eventually fell for 54 when a short of good length delivery from Watson seamed away and Gayle’s leading edge was caught by the bowler running into the off side. For a couple of overs the runs slowed, until Samuels found his touch. He launched a couple of sixes, one impressively over the off side from the bowling of Christian, and then cleared the boundary twice in two balls against Watson.
Samuels’ half-century came from 31 balls but he didn’t add to his score, caught at long-on for 50 from the bowling of Hogg. Watson picked up Pollard for 10 and Bravo was bowled by Cummins for 27 but the runs didn’t stop coming. Starc picked up two late wickets, including Sammy for 11, to finish with 3 for 35, but a mountain of work remained for Australia’s batsmen.