The T20 World Cup 2022 begins in Australia in 6 days. Sportstar will present one iconic moment/match from T20 WC history each day, leading up to October 16, 2022.
November 6, 2021 T20 World Cup: Australia stays in semifinal hunt with 8-wicket win over West Indies
Veteran opener David Warner produced a feisty unbeaten 89 as Australia recorded a facile eight-wicket win over West Indies to stay alive in the semifinal race at the T20 World Cup on Saturday.
The left-hander was at his vintage best as he smashed four sixes and nine fours to anchor the 158-run chase in a match that was a swansong for Dwayne Bravo and probably for Chris Gayle too.
Warner got good support from Mitchell Marsh, who slammed a 32-ball 53 (5x4, 2x6) before getting out while trying to score the winning run.
The duo stitched a match-winning 124-run partnership in 75 balls to seal the chase with 23 balls to spare.
Australia would now have to wait for the result of the South Africa versus England match.
The Proteas need to beat England by a big margin to crush the hopes of Aaron Finch’s men, who have a Net Run Rate of 1.216, with four wins from five matches.
The Aussie left-hander, who struggled to get going in the recently-concluded IPL (Indian Premier League) and lost his place at Sunrisers Hyderabad, upped the ante in the third over, smashing Jason Holder for two consecutive fours before finishing the over with a six.
Skipper Finch (9) got out in the next over after being cleaned up by Akeal Hosein, but Warner maintained the run rate.
Warner raced to his 20th T20 International half-century in 29 balls, as Australia was never in a spot of bother and made it a run-a-ball equation at the halfway mark - 98 for one - needing 60 off 60 balls.
There were his trademark pull, sweep and switch hits as he toyed with the Windies attack.
Marsh also followed suit with an equally aggressive half-century - his fifth in T20Is - as Australia made it a walk in the park.
Earlier, skipper Kieron Pollard struck a combative 31-ball 44 to lead West Indies to a fighting 157 for seven.
Opting to field in a must-win match, Australia was taken to the cleaners by Windies opener Evin Lewis, who smashed Josh Hazlewood for a hat-trick of fours en route to his 26-ball 29.
‘Universe Boss’ Gayle made a nine-ball 15 in what seemed his last international appearance as he enjoyed every bit of it and signed off with the wicket of Marsh. He celebrated it by jumping on Marsh when the Aussie was on his way back.
On a batting-friendly wicket that aided true pace and bounce, the struggling defending champion finally got its rhythm back.
Australia got three wickets for five runs but the Windies kept firing with Pollard holding the innings together.
Pollard slammed one six and four fours while Shimron Hetmyer (27) and Bravo, who made a 12-ball 10 in his final international outing, also made useful contributions.
Finally, it was Andre Russell who finished it off with two sixes (18 not out from seven balls) to prop up the total as the Windies put on 58 runs in the final five overs.
For the Aussies, Hazlewood was brilliant, returning with four for 39 as he bounced back brilliantly after being hit for 20 in his first over.
The loss also meant that two-time world champion West Indies missed out on direct qualification to the ‘Super 12’ stage for the T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia.
It was an emotional match for Bravo, whose final innings in international cricket ended when he departed after getting caught at long-on.
Bravo was hugged by Pollard on his way out as Russell and others too gave him a standing ovation. Gayle also gave him an emotional hug in the dugout. It also seemed like it was the final match for Gayle.
It is not official yet, but the Windies great was seen waving at the camera and raised his bat after crossing the rope and was also seen distributing his cricketing gear to the fans in the stands.
Fresh from his career-best performance of five for 19, leg-spinner Adam Zampa dismissed the well-set Lewis in the 10th over with a googly when the left-hander hit a skier, only to be taken by Steve Smith at long-on.
- Press Trust of India
This article was first published in The Hindu on November 6, 2021