Wills World Cup, semi-final

AUSTRALIA v WEST INDIES

Toss: Australia.

West Indies pulled off an extraordinary defeat, losing eight wickets in the final 50 minutes. After 41 overs, they were 165 for two, needing 43 from the last nine; Lara had gone for a run-a-ball 45, but Chanderpaul was heading for a century and Richardson for a glorious conclusion to his captaincy. Once Chanderpaul - hampered by cramp - fell, however, the innings swerved out of control. Big hitters Harper and Gibson were promoted in the order but their wickets, in quick succession, placed more pressure on the recognised batsmen, Adams and the out-of-form Arthurton, who soon followed. Australia were on top for the first time in the game and a devastating three-over spell from Warne culled three for six. But Richardson was still there to face the last over, from Fleming. When he struck the first delivery for four, West Indies required six from five balls, with two wickets left, and victory was in his grasp. The final fatal misjudgment was to set off for a single, for even if Ambrose had got home, it was Richardson who needed the strike. In fact, Ambrose was given out on a TV replay. Last man Walsh heaved at his first ball and was bowled. Taylor had controlled the closing stages perfectly but said afterwards that West Indies had won 95 per cent of the match. The game had seemed dead after 40 minutes, when Australia, electing to bat on one of the grassier pitches of the tournament, were 15 for four. Ambrose and Bishop had fired out both Waughs, Ponting, who scored 102 in their last meeting, and Taylor himself for a combined four runs, and a rout threatened. But Law and Bevan batted with determination and growing confidence to add 138 in 32 overs and the later order pushed the total past 200. Though Warne dismissed Browne with his first ball, West Indies seemed to have the task well in hand until panic overtook them.

Man of the Match: S. K. Warne.

© John Wisden & Co