Australia beats West Indies in rain-hit World T20
Sunday 23 Sep 2012 10:07 a.m.
Australia's Starc leaps to avoid a throw (Reuters)
David Warner and Shane Watson blasted Australia to a rain-affected 17-run win over West Indies in the World Twenty20.
With the win, Australia advanced to the Super Eights, and the second team to advance from Group B will be decided when West Indies and Ireland meet on Monday.
West Indies totaled a formidable 191-8 thanks to aggressive half-centuries from Chris Gayle (54) and Marlon Samuels (50), but Warner launched Australia's brilliant reply with 28 off 14 balls, which included three boundaries and two sixes.
He was the only Australian wicket to fall, caught behind off fast bowler Fidel Edwards at 30-1 in the third over.
Watson continued the challenge with an unbeaten 41 off 24 balls including three sixes and two boundaries following his two-wicket bowling spell, and Mike Hussey had 28 off 19 before the match was stopped after 9.1 overs because of a downpour that didn't let up.
Australia, at 100-1, was 17 runs ahead of the 83 par score on the Duckworth/Lewis method.
Watson was named player of the match. He also took 2-29.
West Indies captain Darren Sammy said his team could have won if not for the rain.
"We still thought we were right there," he said. "Needing nine an over they had to keep going. Unfortunately, weather played a part. We have to just put that behind us.
"We still have the belief that we could win this tournament."
Watson said Australia's batting success depended a lot on the top three.
"We are very confident in our batting lineup, we know how important our top three is to our batting side.
"It's a pleasure to bat with David Warner because if he does everything he did today, set everything up ... that certainly makes it lot easier for me, takes a lot of pressure off me."
However, he said the bowlers could not execute the plans they set against Gayle and Samuels.
"We knew exactly where their strength areas were but we didn't execute anywhere near I think," Watson said.
Gayle and Samuels hit four sixes each in smashing half-centuries to propel West Indies to what appeared to be a winning total.
Gayle, dropped on 4, also hit five boundaries in an entertaining 54 off 33 balls while Samuels made a 32-ball 50 including three boundaries to treat a capacity crowd at R Premadasa Stadium.
Gayle started cautiously and struggled to middle the ball. He was dropped at third man by Watson off seamer Mitchell Starc.
But he found his form in the fifth over bowled by Starc, uncorking three boundaries and a six, and continued to dominate until he was caught and bowled by Watson at 93-3 in the 11th over.
Gayle shared 39 runs with Johnson Charles and 46 with Samuels to redeem West Indies after it lost opener Dwayne Smith on 8-1. Samuels was out caught by Warner off spin bowler Brad Hogg at 140-4 in the 16th over.
Fast bowler Starc returned the best figures for Australia with 3-35.