-The West Indies inched one win closer to the semi-finals of the ICC T20 World
Cup competition after captain Chris Gayle blasted India almost out of the tournament
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – West Indies followed typically enterprising batting from Chris Gayle with an improved performance in the field that carried them to a 14-run victory over India in the Twenty20 World Cup yesterday.
The West Indies captain, later named Man-of-the-Match, smote five fours and seven sixes in 98 from 66 balls to lead West Indies to 169 for six from their allocation of 20 overs in the seventh Super Eight match at Kensington Oval.
Steady bowling and sure-handed fielding then restricted India to 155 for nine in their 20 overs to hand West Indies a crucial victory that enhanced their chances of reaching the semi-finals.
Darren Sammy gave West Indies an early breakthrough, when he had Murali Vijay caught at deep backward square leg for seven in the fourth over.
Next over, Kemar Roach had Gautam Gambhir caught behind for 15, when the left-handed opener gloved a short, rising ball.
When Kieron Pollard had Rohit Sharma controversially caught behind off the glove for five essaying a scoop, India were 38 for three in the eighth over.
West Indies held their nerve under pressure, when left-handers Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh added 42 from 28 balls for the fourth wicket.
Gayle had Raina caught in “cow-corner” for the top score of 32 in the 12th over, and next over, Sulieman Benn struck, when Yuvraj pulled a short ball and was caught at widish mid-on in the 13th over.
But West Indies’ hunger for victory was again challenged, when Yusuf Pathan joined Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and added 33 from 17 balls.
Jerome Taylor broke the partnership, when Pathan hooked a short, rising ball, and was caught on the long-leg boundary for 17 in the 16th over.
The match swung decisively West Indies’ way however, when Dhoni failed to beat Dwayne Bravo’s direct hit at the bowler’s end going for a second run, and was run out for 29.
Earlier, Gayle looked set to become the first batsman to score an unprecedented second Twenty20 International hundred before he was run out off the penultimate ball of the innings.
He was fortunate on 46, when Dhoni and Pathan bumped into each other, and muffed a skied chance off Ashish Nehra in the 12th over.
Gayle reached his 50 from 41 balls with a thick outside edge for his third four to third man driving at Nehra two balls later.
Two balls later, fellow left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul, with whom Gayle shared 80 for the first wicket, was caught behind off Nehra.
Darren Sammy and Kieron Pollard, promoted to three and four respectively, kept the momentum going for West Indies in brief stands of 39 and 41 respectively, with Gayle.
But the innings fell away in the closing overs with Bravo and Ramnaresh Sarwan gifting their wickets with Gayle approaching his landmark.
West Indies meet Australia in their last Super Eight match tomorrow at the Beausejour Cricket Ground in St. Lucia, where on the same day India face Sri Lanka.