West Indies crash out to ruthless Australia
West Indies saved their worst for last as they were knocked out of their home tournament with a crushing six-wicket defeat by Australia. The hosts were in trouble as soon as the captain Chris Gayle fell second ball and flopped to 105, which their unbeaten opponents eased past in 16.2 overs.
Australia's next engagement is Friday's semi-final against Pakistan while Sri Lanka, who qualified in the first game of the day in St Lucia, face England on Thursday. Sri Lanka's five-wicket victory over India left West Indies needing to win by 24 runs to reach the last four ahead of Kumar Sangakkara's side, but that quickly proved impossible.
All Michael Clarke's men needed to do to qualify on top of Group F was avoid a heavy loss. Instead they produced another muscular performance as they chase their first global Twenty20 title.
David Warner blasted four boundaries and a huge six over long-on in 12 balls to kick-start the pursuit. He fell for 25 when edging Jerome Taylor and when Shane Watson (5) played-on to Sulieman Benn in the next over the hosts started to wonder.
The slim hope was brief as Brad Haddin took over once he got comfortable to secure the result and give Australia their fifth win in the tournament. Haddin finished with 42 off 46, departing a ball before Gayle delivered five wides to end the match. David Hussey was 10 not out as the tourists finished at 109 for 3.
The only worry for Australia entering the next stage is the ability of Clarke to lift the pace when required. Given a risk-free opportunity to show some muscle, he chipped the ball around in his usual style to collect 16 from 24 before being run-out by Dwayne Bravo's direct hit from backward point.
West Indies did not recover after losing Gayle, who played on to Dirk Nannes, and Australia's well-rounded attack picked off his team-mates with ease as the innings ended six balls early. West Indies slumped to 60 for 5 in the 10th over as they were out-gunned, with Mitchell Johnson collecting 2 for 22, before the legspinner Steven Smith snuffed out any chance of a revival. Smith was on a hat-trick when he removed Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy on the way to an impressive 3 for 20.
Ramnaresh Sarwan, the No. 3, tried to hold the innings together with 26 off 32 balls, but there was too much damage at the other end and he exited in the 15th over. Nikita Miller (10 not out) and Benn (9) were left to add 20 for the last wicket to take West Indies to triple figures.
The other opener Shivnarine Chanderpaul (24) raised the rate after Gayle's exit before attempting to force Johnson down the ground, where David Hussey dived for an athletic take at mid-on. West Indies were 52 for 3 when Bravo was unlucky to be run out for 6 after Sarwan drove back to Johnson and the ball brushed the bowler's fingers to ricochet on to the stumps. An over later Narsingh Deonarine hadn't scored as he found Michael Hussey at deep square leg to give Smith his first wicket.
Johnson's second came with Denesh Ramdin's edge behind on 1 and Pollard was stumped from a beautiful ball from Smith, who confused the batsman with a drifting legspinner. Smith then caught-and-bowled Sammy and when Sarwan fell to David Hussey (2 for 3), West Indies' chances of a home success were gone.
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo