Colombo: Australia were blown away by a Chris Gayle storm as the West Indies made their maiden World Twenty20 final with a 74-run win in the semi-final at the R. Premedasa Stadium here Friday.
West Indies will now face hosts Sri Lanka in Sunday’s final here at the same venue. It will be West Indies’ first final appearance in any World Cup event in 29 years and in an International Cricket Council (ICC) event since 2006 Champions Trophy.
West Indies’ last final appearance in a World Cup event was way back in 1983 when they lost the final of the 50-over World Cup to India at the Lord’s in London.
They also won the 2004 Champions Trophy and finished runners-up in 2006.
This time, the West Indies were always a strong contender.
On Friday, things went their way right from winning the toss.
Opting to bat first, Gayle led the way with an explosive 75 off 41 balls, hitting five fours and six sixes, Athat took West Indies to a mammoth 205 for four in 20 overs.
Gayle was also adjudged as Man of the Match.
While chasing the huge total, Australia were put on the back foot right from the start after they were reduced to 43 for six in the eighth over and were bowled out for 131 in 16.4 overs.
Skipper George Bailey struck 63 in 29 balls that was studded with six fours and four sixes, but didn’t get any support from the other end.
It was a disciplined performance by the West Indies bowling unit.
Pacer Ravi Rampaul bagged three for 16 while Samuel Badree (2/27), Sunil Narine (2/17) and Kieron Pollard (2/6) shared six wickets.
But it was Gayle along with Pollard (38), Dwayne Bravo (37) and Marlon Samuels (26) who made the task easy for the Caribbean bowlers.
It was a measured innings from Gayle, who took his time and launched himself into the Australian bowling in the death over.
West Indies lost opener Johnson Charles (10) in the third over after he went for a big off-drive and was caught behind off Mitchell Starc’s bowling.
Gayle and Samuels then tried to build up the innings with their 41-run stand for the second wicket. But Samuels played a poor shot and was bowled by a slower delivery from Pat Cummins as West Indies were reduced to 2-57.
Gayle and Bravo (37) then shared an 83-run stand for the third wicket that took the West Indies to a position of strength of 140 for three by the 16th over.
Bravo hit three sixes and a four in his 31-ball knock before being caught at cover off Cummins’ bowling. Cummins finished with 2-36 in a solid comeback after an unimpressive form in the past couple of matches.
West Indies were unstoppable in the last five overs scoring 73 runs. Gayle and Pollard added 65 runs in 25 deliveries for the fourth wicket.
Pollard’s 15-ball 38 came to an end in the last ball of the innings after he was caught at long-off by spinner Xavier Doherty.
But it proved to be costly final over as Doherty conceded 25 runs including a six from Gayle and three sixes in consecutive deliveries by Pollard.
Australia never got their chase on track. They kept losing wickets at regular intervals and half the side was back in the pavilion for 42 runs on board inside seven overs.
Like West Indies, Australia also made 113 by the 14th over but by then they had already lost eight wickets.
West Indies made a clinical finish with 20 balls to spare.