West Indies win puts Australia's hopes on ice

JOE BARTON
Last updated 04:10 29/03/2014
Darren Sammy and Chris Gayle
Getty Images
SIX AND OUT: Darren Sammy gets hit with a hug from Chris Gayle after hitting the winning runs, as the West Indies defeated Australia by six wickets.

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Australia have all but been knocked out of the World Twenty20 after Chris Gayle and Darren Sammy conspired to hand the West Indies a six-wicket win.

Gayle set the tone on Friday night (local time), with a brutal 35-ball 53, while Sammy drove them home - smashing 34 from 13 in the dying overs to steal victory from Australia and essentially end their hopes of claiming an elusive T20 title.

Gayle, who was given a life on 26 when Brad Haddin missed a simple stumping chance, made up for a slow start to the tournament with his defiant knock.

His dismissal, to young Australian legspinner James Muirhead (3-21), put the breaks on the West Indian innings - until captain Darren Sammy stole victory for the Calypso kings with a monster 19-run penultimate over off striker bowler Mitchell Starc (2-50).

His onslaught saw them chew up 42 required runs from the final three overs, to need just 12 from James Faulkner's final over.

Sammy did it with ease - hammering home a pair of sixes to spark wild on-field celebrations with his teammates.

'Gangnam Style' blared over the speakers - prompting Gayle to do the dance that he made famous when the West Indies won the T20 title in 2012.

Gayle's brilliant knock was ended when he Maxwell took a fine outfield catch after he'd been deceived by a Muirhead wrong-un.

Maxwell took another brilliant catch on the rope to dismiss Lendl Simmons (26), and put Australia in the box seat - only for Sammy to produce the remarkable.

Australia's chances of progressing now not only require victories over India and Bangladesh in their remaining two matches, but also on a tough set of circumstances that would include easybeats Bangladesh springing an upset against Pakistan.

Gayle, whose scores of 48 and 34 this tournament have come at an uncharacteristically slow rate, unleashed his full repertoire of strokes early - blasting Starc for four consecutive boundaries in the second over of the chase.

Earlier, Maxwell papered over Australia's embarrassing spin frailties with another superb counter-attacking innings.

Despite posting a defendable total of 8-178, Australia's top order again proved their inability to play the spinning ball on the subcontinent's wickets.

Legspinner Samuel Badree (2-37), controversial offspinner Marlon Samuels (2-20) and Sunil Narine (2-19) combined to remove the top six as Australia lost regular wickets.

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Maxwell, who nearly stole victory from Pakistan with a brilliant 74 off 33 balls in Australia's first-up loss, proved the only member of Australia's top order capable of mastering the West Indies' spin demons.

But despite providing most of the fireworks, Maxwell furiously admonished himself after holing out to Dwayne Bravo at deep mid-wicket, while chasing his fourth six of the night.

- AAP

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