World Twenty20 23rd Match: Gayle and Sammy star in high-scoring thriller

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Sammy is ecstatic after hitting the winning runs

West Indies opener Chris Gayle smashed a superb half-century and captain Darren Sammy hammered a match-winning 34 to guide their side to a six-wicket win in a high-scoring thriller against Australia in Mirpur.

Australia captain George Bailey would have been pondering over whether he made the right decision to bat first after opening batsman Aaron Finch was clean bowled by Marlon Samuels for 16.

David Warner managed to make 20 runs before he was cleaned up by Samuel Badree.

Shane Watson only made two runs before he was stumped by Denesh Ramdin off the bowling of Sunil Narine.

Bailey failed to save his team as he was caught by Sammy at short midwicket off the bowling of Samuels for 12.

Glenn Maxwell stabilised the innings with his solid knock of 45, which came off 22 balls, and included five boundaries and three sixes.

Brad Hodge and James Faulkner, who was returning to international cricket after having undergone knee surgery in January, kept the runs flowing with a 52-run partnership before Hodge had his stumps shattered by Narine for 35.

Faulkner went on to make 13 runs before he was caught by Dwayne Bravo at long-off off the bowling of Krishmar Santokie.

Mitchell Starc only made four runs before he was caught by Andre Russell at long-on off the bowling of Bravo.

Australia eventually finished on 178/8 at the end of their 20 overs.

Badree, Samuels and Narine picked up two wickets apiece, while Santokie and Bravo chipped in with one wicket each.

Chasing 179 to win, the West Indies got off to a good start as their opening pair of Gayle and Dwayne Smith amassed a 50-run partnership before Smith was caught behind off the bowling of Starc for 17.

Gayle went on to make a brilliant 53, which came off 35 balls and included six boundaries and two sixes, before he was caught by Maxwell at deep midwicket off the bowling of James Muirhead.

Lendl Simmons managed to make 26 runs before he was caught by Maxwell at deep square leg off the bowling of Doug Bollinger.

Samuels scored 16 runs before Brad Haddin took a brilliant catch behind the stumps to dismiss him.

From that point on it was all West Indies as Sammy and Bravo put together an unbeaten 49-run partnership to lead their side to a six-wicket win.

Sammy finished on 34 off 13 balls, which included two boundaries and three sixes, while Bravo remained undefeated on 27 off 12 deliveries, which included two boundaries and two sixes.

Despite going for 50 runs off his four overs, Starc took two wickets, while Bollinger and Muirhead snapped up one wicket each.

Even though Australia made 178, Bailey was still disappointed with his side’s batting performance, and said: “I’d take 178, but we didn’t bat particularly well. We lost too many wickets in the middle. You gotta take the good with the bad, we have some guys in great form and the West Indies bowled really well. You hope one goes to hand and the challenge for both teams was that short boundary. It was going to be difficult for the guy bowling from the end where that winds up on the on side. He [Sammy] stuck to his plans and hit it nice and hard.”

Sammy, who was named Man of the Match, was “pumped” after winning the crucial match, and said: “We have not won the tournament, its just a game against Australia but we were pumped up for this. They played well and a couple of our bowlers bowled well. We backed ourselves to score 180-odd. Chris and Smith set us up and we are really pumped up for the win. It was really nice to see Faulkner bowling the last over. A lot of things were said before this match and you [should] never wake up a sleeping lion [Chris Gayle].”

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