As it happened: Australia beat West Indies by eight wickets in Abu Dhabi – Gulf News

Australia faced a stiff test in bid to reach semi-finals as Windies set them 158 to win
By A.K.S. Satish, Assistant Editor
Abu Dhabi: David Warner regained his sublime form at the crucial juncture to guide Australia to a comfortable eight-wicket win and increase the net run rate to give them enough chances to clinch the semi-final spot in the Twenty20 World Cup.
After restricting West Indies to a below-par score of 158, Warner stood like a rock for his team and chased down the target in 16.2 overs. Mitchell Marsh proved a perfect partner in the chase and the pair put on 124-run partnership after West Indies tasted the only success earlier when captain Aaron Finch chopped the ball onto his stumps.
The West Indians continued their search to find the right ace to break the partnership, but nothing could get them the desired results. Finally, when Australia needed eight runs for the win, Kieron Pollard brought in veteran Gayle for one last time and he almost got Warner stumped, but Pooran missed the chance. But when the scores were level, Marsh hit the lofted drive straight to Holder to bring joy among the West Indies ranks.
Earlier, Josh Hazlewood and Adam Zampa restricted the West Indian batters from running up big scores on a wicket that played true till the end, allowing enough freedom to the batters to play their shots at will. Most of the West Indian batters got their starts, but could not convert them into big scores, thanks to Hazlewood striking at regular intervals and Zampa bowling a tight line and length.
Pollard, Evin Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer came up with useful contributions Andre Russell’s late assault to guide team to and took the team to 157/7 in 20 overs.

An inside-edge four by Warner off Chase gives Australia the win and takes them closer to the semi-final spot. Warner remains unbeaten on 89 to take the Aussies home by eight wickets to spare. West Indies might not have won this game, but certainly they won their hearts with their joyous spirit and fun-filled game. It’s hugs for Gayle and Bravo.

It’s laughter all around. Gayle ends the partnership after getting March caught by Holder for 53 when Australia are just one run away from winning the game.

Mitchell Marsh also reaches 50 as Australia move to 133/1 in 14 overs. Warner is batting on 69 with another 25 runs required off 36 balls.

West Indies are going down without a fight. A six and misfield four allows Australia to reach 98/1 at the halfway stage. With almost 10 runs coming an over, the match should finish lot sooner than expected. The West Indian bowlers are not able to contain the runs as the true wicket allows the batters to play their shots freely. West Indies certainly 30-40 runs short on this wicket to make a match of it.

Warner shows his striking abilities, hitting sixes at will. The left-hander reaches his half-century in 29 balls with three sixes and five fours. Joining him in the party is Mitchell Marsh, who is batting on 18. Australia are strengthening their chances of a semi-final spot by marching towards the target with ease. After 9 overs, they are 82/1, needing another 76 runs in 66 balls.

Australia race past 50-run mark in the powerplay overs. Warner continues to be the aggressor, scoring 40 of those runs in 22 balls. After six overs, Australia are 53/1.

Australia race past 50-run mark in the powerplay overs. Warner continues to be the aggressor, scoring 40 of those runs in 22 balls. After six overs, Australia are 53/1.

After Warner’s assault on Jason Holder, it seemed that Australians are running away to their target, but that’s not to be, a twist in the tale. Akeal Hosein breaks the partnership after Finch plays the ball on to the stumps. Australia are 33/1 in 3.3 overs.

After Warner’s assault on Jason Holder, it seemed that Australians are running away to their target, but that’s not to be, a twist in the tale. Akeal Hosein breaks the partnership after Finch plays the ball on to the stumps. Australia are 33/1 in 3.3 overs.

Warner and Finch show their resolve to reach the target in good time, taking Australia to 18/0 in two overs.

Pollard top-scores with 44 as Lewis and Hetmyer chip in with useful knocks
Josh Hazlewood and Adam Zampa restricted West Indies to a under-par target of 158 in the final Super-12 clash at Shaikh Zayed Statium in Abu Dhabi. The Australian pacer, after going in for plenty of runs in the first over, came back strong in the second to give Australia and twin-strike and returned to claim two more wickets to finish with a four-wicket haul in his four overs. Leg-spinner Zampa kept the West Indies batters quiet, conceding 20 runs from his four overs with one wicket.
Most of the West Indian batters got their starts, but failed to convert into a big score. Skipper Kireron Pollard top scored with 44, while Shimron Hetmyer (27) and opener Evin Lewis (29) also chipped in to finish at 157/7 in 20 overs. Andre Russell’s late assault took the team past the 150-run mark on a wicket that is allowing the freedom to play the shots.
West Indies need to get early wickets is they aim to salvage their pride in the final game of this Twenty20 World Cup.

Andre Russell’s two sixes off the last two balls, including one that sailed to 111 metres, against Starc takes West Indies past the 150-run mark. Skipper Pollard’s knock ends after he couldn’t find the right elevation off Starc and the resultant skier was perfectly take by Warner at long on off the second ball of the final over. Thanks to Russell, West Indies reach 157/7 in 20 overs.

Cummins manages to keep the West Indians relatively quite in the penultimate over, giving away only 7 runs. After 19 overs, West Indies are 143/6.

The Champion goes. Bravo is given a warm send off both by his teammates and by the Australians after being dismissed, suggesting that this could be his last innings. A good straight lofted drive off Hazlewood fails to have the power to go past the boundary line, where Warner completes a diving catch after running to the left from long on. West Indies are 136/6 after 18 overs.

Pollard and Bravo showing their ominous striking abilities. Bravo plays his trademark six over extra covers while Pollard hits his brutal straight drives, a missile for the bowler, umpire and the non-striker – thankfully it goes to the boundary without striking any of the targets in between. And what follows is a 76-metre six over square leg. The duo have moved to the top gear to take West Indies to 123/5 in 17 overs.

Dwayne Bravo knows a thing or two about the power Pollard can impart on his shots. The non-striker takes a desperate evasive action off a straight drive off Pollard. The West Indian skipper must have gained plenty of confidence from that shot as they head to the final five overs. West Indies reach 100-run mark in 15.1 overs.

Hazlewood strikes again, dismisses the dangerous Hetmyer, caught behind by Matthew Wade for 27. Dwayne Bravo is walking in for what could be his final innings for West Indies. After 13 overs, West Indies are 92/5.

Pollard’s lack of form is showing as the West Indian captain is unable to find his touch. But what is important is that he is willing to grind it out and is showing his intentions that he wants to stay a long time at the crease. To aid his resolve, Zampa drops a difficult caught and bowled chance. May be it the change of luck that Pollard is desperately looking for. After 12 overs, West Indies are 87 for 4.

Opener Lewis loses his patience and, after hitting a four, goes for a big shot straight over the bowler’s head only for Steve Smith to complete a superb diving catch, running in from long-on. West Indies are 70/4 after 9.3 overs. Captain Kieron Pollard is long overdue for a big score, will he score today? Let’s wait for it as he walks in to the crease.

Australian skipper Aaron Finch falls back on his trump card Adam Zampa to break the budding partnership. The skipper knows that if this pair goes on for a while, the power hitters can strike a knockout punch in the final overs with the ball coming on nicely to the bat. With no boundaries in the last couple of overs, panic sets in and Levis survives a run out chance. But all is well. West Indies are 58/3 after 8 overs.

Finally, some sense prevails in the West Indian batting. Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer are trying to find gaps by deliberately playing on the ground, despite the fielders in during powerplay overs. Time for consolidation! After six overs, West Indies are 50/3.

Roston Chase falls
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Josh Hazlewood repays the faith given to him by his captain Aaron Finch, who continued with the pacer despite him coming under severe assault in his opening over. The pacer, who was hit for three fours and a six in the previous over, gets rid of Nicholas Pooran off the first ball of his second over and then removes Roston Chase off the third ball to leave West Indies reeling at 37/3 after four overs.

Just when the fans thought that the West Indians are playing like champions, Cummins ended the stay of the ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle, who might have played his last game for West Indies. Gayle was given a warm send-off on returning to the pavilion. The left-hander played some towering sixes, before being castled in the third over. The pitch promises plenty of runs, maybe it was a bad decision to bowl first as teams batting first have won the last three games in Abu Dhabi. After three overs, West indies are 35/1.

Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis make a cautious start against Mitchell Starc on a wicket that has a fair tinge of green on it and a good carry. The ‘Universe Boss’ is ready to grind out the spell by running hard, something he doesn’t do very often. West indies are 4/0 after one over.

Here we go! Australia won the toss and elect to bowl first against West Indies

Hayden Walsh replaces Ravi Rampaul in West Indies squad. Australia retain the squad that defeated Bangladesh.
West Indies: 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Nicholas Pooran (wk), 4 Roston Chase, 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Andre Russell, 7 Kieron Pollard (capt), 8 Jason Holder, 9 Dwayne Bravo, 10 Akeal Hosein, 11 Hayden Walsh Jr.
Australia: 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch (capt), 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 Steve Smith, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Marcus Stoinis, 7 Matthew Wade (wk), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 Adam Zampa.
Abu Dhabi: The T20 World Cup trophy is the elusive crown that’s missing from Australia’s trophy cabinet. After several near misses, the Australians are now closing in on a semi-final spot, but the West Indies stand in their way and need to cross that intriguing hurdle at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi as the first step.
The Australians have to get several factors right in today’s game to keep their hopes alive. While defeating West Indies is paramount, they should also ensure that they increase the net run rate or at least ensure it doesn’t drop further. Apart from that, they would also require a big favour from their old rivals, England.
After winning their contest, they hope Eion Morgan’s men defeat South Africa in the later match of the day at Sharjah. With so many permutations and combinations in place, Australia would do well in focusing on what they could do in their hands, as professionals they are likely to have complete focus on their performance and defeat West Indies. But that’s not going to be easy.
They will be up against the defending champions West Indies, who will now play for the pride after their campaign came to an end against Sri Lanka on Thursday at the same venue. It will be a last hurrah for legends like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard. After disappointing the fans this time around, a chance for them to bow out on a high. Will they do it by changing their approach and spoil Australia’s dreams. Wait and watch as the action unfolds…

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