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Rain brought an abrupt end to the Australia-West Indies Group B encounter of the ICC World Twenty20 in Colombo on Saturday. Australia defeated West Indies by 17 runs on the Duckworth and Lewis method after they were set a stiff target of 192 to win. Australia’s run chase was interrupted by rain with their score at 100-1 after 9.1 overs at which time they were ahead of the par score of 83.
Opener Shane Watson remained unbeaten on 41 off 24 balls while Michael Hussey was not out on 28 off 19.
Australia's innings got off to a great start when David Warner played a blinder before Fidel Edwards got the better of him as he edged one straight to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin.
Warner was in the mood to dominate from the first ball he faced. He targetted Ravi Rampaul in just the second over by smashing two sixes and two boundaries.
After Warner’s dismissal, Hussey and Watson kept Australia’s chase of the Windies target well on course. Watson clobbered 22 runs off Marlon Samuels in the eighth over that included two 4s and two 6s.
Earlier, Chris Gayle once again gave his side the impetus early on, only this time it wasn’t for a T20 league franchise but for the West Indies side. His 54 off 33 balls (Five 4s, Four 6s) had the Aussies scampering around the ground. Gayle’s return into the Caribbean fold has changed the perception of the side from a bunch of also-rans to serious potential title holders. It isn’t just his brute force, but his sheer consistency in striking the cricket ball that has a pulverising effect on the opposition.
Gayle was dropped by Shane Watson at third man when he was on just four. He then went to take on young fast bowler Pat Cummins for 18 runs in the fifth over. He survived an LBW shout from Glenn Maxwell and disptached the next delivery to a long way over the fence. He reached his half-century off 26 balls in the eighth over as the West Indies moved to a promising 80-2. Gayle put on a second wicket partnershiip of 39 off 23 balls with Johnson Charles (16) and 46 for the third with Marlon Samuels.
Watson then avenged his lapse by latching on to a high catch off his own bowling as soon as he was brought on to try and get a breakthrough. Samuels who gave Gayle solid support till then, took on the mantle of charging into the Australian attack soon after his departure. He made his way to a half-century (Three 4s, Four 6s) before holing out to a flighted delivery from Brad Hogg.
Pollard (10), Bravo (27) and Sammy (11) all chipped in with some runs down the order to take the West Indies to 191-8 in their Twenty overs.
This result means that Australia have reached the Super 8 stage with two wins under their belt. They had earlier defeated Ireland on Wednesday. The West Indies will play their second and final Group B encounter against Ireland on Monday.
OTHER RESULTS TODAY:
SA upstage SL in rain-shortened match