Australia v West Indies, Group B, World T20 2012, Colombo September 22, 2012

Watson steers Australia into Super Eights

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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)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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 put up a hefty score of 191 but a strong start from Australia, 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.

The second over of Australia's innings set them on the path to victory as David Warner took 22 off Ravi Rampaul, including sixes from an upper cut and a pull, as well as two fours. Warner fell in the next over for 28, unhappy to be given out caught behind driving at Fidel Edwards, but he had given Australia the lightning start they needed in such a big chase. Michael Hussey came to the crease and crunched Darren Sammy over wide long-on for six, and then Watson took control.

He was eased in thanks to a free-hit against Sunil Narine, which was duly slog-swept for six, and Marlon Samuels also felt the brunt of Watson's force in an over that cost 22. It included consecutive sixes - the second a flat pull that fizzed through the hands of Dwayne Smith at deep midwicket and lobbed over the boundary, which could have turned out to be a costly drop. As it was, Watson moved on to 41 not out and Hussey was on 28 when the rain came, and Australia were well ahead on Duckworth-Lewis.

It was a shame for West Indies that they didn't get the full opportunity to defend their strong score, set up by Gayle and Samuels. But both men fell soon after reaching their half-centuries and Australia's bowlers did just enough to keep their side in the match. Watson (2 for 29) picked up the key wicket of Gayle for 54, having dropped him on 4, and he also removed Kieron Pollard to help slow West Indies' momentum towards the end of their innings.

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 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. Seventeen 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 West Indies had enough depth to keep the runs coming, albeit not quite as quickly as they had earlier. Starc picked up two late wickets, including Sammy for 11, to finish with 3 for 35.

In the end, the weather meant West Indies' efforts were in vain. They entered the tournament as one of the favourites, and must now see off Ireland in order to progress to the Super Eights.

Readers in the USA, Caribbean and South America can watch highlights of the match here.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on September 24, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    @Naresh Pitamber on (September 23 2012, 16:31 PM GMT) Stats actually show that although Sammy bowled just 2 overs he had the best economy rate of all the WI bowlers and despite only scoring 12 - it was as a lower order batsman to help finish the innings in style and guess what - his SR was THEE best of all the WI batsmen. Seems the guy can't do any right in some people's eyes

  • JG2704 on September 24, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    @Rally_Windies on (September 23 2012, 12:34 PM GMT) It's a difficult one to judge. I suppose they allowed for the fact that they were only 1 wicket down. Had they been 2 or 3 wickets down I guess they would be nearer to the 94 you said about. If we were going by the exact runrate WI scored at then 86-87 would be about right at 9.55 rpo after 9.1 overs so 84 is not far off that and having lost just the 1 wicket and therefore having 9 wickets in hand 84 seemed just about fair enough. Anyway Aus were way in front of that RR and provided you beat Ireland you should qualify comfortably enough and being how the qualification works this Aus result will not matter at all

  • dummy4fb on September 24, 2012, 10:14 GMT

    Same old story with the Windies, got a potentially explosive batting line-up, but are incapable of defending a competitive total against the established countries. They might get away with it against the minnows, but are found wanting otherwise. The West Indies should stick to their strengths and put the opposition in, if they win the toss and back themselves to chase whatever total is presented to them. And they have to play two fulltime spinners (Narine and Badree) for a little more control. Playing both Edwards or Rampaul is too much of a liability, they lack the discipline required and end up bowling too many boundry-balls. If they bowl they way they did against Australia, then Ireland could pull off a upset. England in 2011 and Pakistan in 2007 will testify to that.

  • everfaithful77 on September 24, 2012, 8:43 GMT

    Windies fans are UNHAPPY about this loss. However there's alot the team as a whole and individual players can learn from it.1st although Gayle and Samuels batted superbly neither of them CARRIED ON which would've likely led to a score well in excess of 200. I feel they could've become more CIRCUMSPECT especially after reaching their 50's and look to bat DEEPER into the inns by applying more shot selection. Also boundary hitting seemed to be the order of the day for all with little STRIKE ROTATION. The end result was despite the slug-fest wickets kept falling and Narine had to come out at # 10 to play the last ball. Isn't that a FAMILIAR STORY with West Indies ? At least they batted out the 20 overs but it kept Australia in the game. Bowling wise Rampaul's 1st over was ATROCIOUS with balls pitching all over the place. His 1st ball was short and wide outside off & helped over point for 6, the next was also short but on leg & pulled for 6. Australia never looked back. OVER TO U COACH!!

  • dummy4fb on September 23, 2012, 18:21 GMT

    When the WI squad was announced I begged the question, who will take the wks? Well that question still stands. Who will take the wks? Sunil can only bowl 4 ovs. So far the spinners have dominated the bowling dept in the tournament. Why should WI post 190 in a t20 match and lose it? Somebody is not doing their homework. And yes our attack was tailor made for the Aussies batting line up. No Benn, not even Deonarine, 2 late shall be the cry. Better luck agst Ireland.

  • dummy4fb on September 23, 2012, 17:04 GMT

    This competition is developing to be a west Inies tornament! the pitches are becoming a spinner turf. West Indies have the top spinner Narine and Badree who is also decent plus back up from Gayle and Samuel. You have to be able to clear the boundary if you attact, There is Gayle, Pollard, Samuel, Bravo and Sammy....West Indies also have decent feilders currently.The game agaisnt Australia Was an example of what is to come.....Shri Lanka, Australia, india and West indies will be progress from the Super 8

  • miz29 on September 23, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    you see what Harbhajan Singh and Piyush Chawla doing to england.....come on west indies we have narine mystery and badree economic rate....you dont have to be a genius to bowl them together..

  • dummy4fb on September 23, 2012, 16:31 GMT

    Sorry to say but having Sammy in the 11 keep a valuable player like Russel out on the 11. I respect Sammy but sometimes it might have been better if he is the 12th player. WI batted well and is still a team to look at.

  • dummy4fb on September 23, 2012, 15:22 GMT

    i went to see yaaaaaaaa hoooooooo

  • dummy4fb on September 23, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    West Indies remain doomed to fail because of flawed selection. How could Badree be left out against a team like Australia who are weak in the handling of spin. Again we continue to omit a player like Andre Russel. Darren Bravo must be a better option than Johnson Charles for no. 3. Why do we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot?

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