WEST INDIES HAMMER PRE-MATCH FAVOURITES INDIA
MUMBAI – West Indies will face England in this Sunday’s ICC World Twenty20 final after Lendl Simmons condemned hosts India to a seven-wicket defeat at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai today.
Simmons smashed 82 not out off 51 balls to steer West Indies to their target of 193 with two balls in hand. Earlier he had been reprieved on 18 and 50 after being ‘dismissed’ by front-foot no-balls.
The errors – compounded when Ravindra Jadeja caught Simmons on 68 only to step on the mid-wicket boundary rope – eclipsed Virat Kohli’s second majestic fifty in as many games.
Kohli followed up his unbeaten 82 against Australia with a sumptuous 89 not out off 47 balls as India made 192 for 2, then claimed the key scalp of Johnson Charles (52 off 36 balls) with his first delivery when brought on to bowl.
The wicket ended a thrilling third-wicket stand of 97 between Charles and Simmons, who subsequently found a powerful foil in Andre Russell (43 not out off 20), who struck Kohli into the stands to win the match and silence the crowd at the Wankhede Stadium
Now England and West Indies – the victors when the sides met early in the tournament – each have the chance of becoming the first nation to win the World Twenty20 title twice, at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday.
India made a solid start after being put in – Rohit Sharma dominating a first-wicket stand of 62 in 7.2 overs with Ajinkya Rahane, launching Russell for successive sixes in the final over of the powerplay before missing one from Samuel Badree that skidded on.
Kohli should have been run out on one after attempting to steal a bye to the wicketkeeper after missing out on a free hit but Denesh Ramdin’s shy at the stumps missed by a fraction and Dwayne Bravo, having collected the ball, also under-armed wide.
Rahane, recalled in place of out-of-nick Shikhar Dhawan, matched Kohli for touch and placement as the pair piled up a second-wicket stand of 66 in 8.1 overs with excellent running.
With overs running out the opener looked to pull Russell for six but failed to clear Bravo at mid-wicket, clearing the way for Mahendra Singh Dhoni (15 not out) and Kohli to up the rate with an unbroken stand of 64 off just 27 balls.
Kohli’s hitting was as clinical as it was mesmerising – India’s talisman striking just one six yet manufacturing a strike-rate of 190.
The target was within the range of the West Indies, who chased down 183 to beat England on the same ground in their opening match thanks to Chris Gayle’s unbeaten hundred.
But the left-handed opener was undone by Jasprit Bumrah’s first ball, an inswinging yorker, and Marlon Samuels chipped a simple catch to cover to leave India in the ascendancy.
West Indies should have been three down with 50 on the board when Simmons edged to short third man only for replays to show Ravichandran Ashwin had overstepped.
Simmons, playing his first game of the tournament in place of Andre Fletcher (hamstring injury), initially played second fiddle as Charles cut loose to launch Ashwin and Hardik Pandya for sixes to lift West Indies to 84 for 2 at the halfway stage.
The burly opener pummelled Pandya to the mid-wicket rope to reach his fifty off 30 balls, setting the platform for victory but not before Simmons was the beneficiary of another front-foot error – this time by Pandya – shortly after completing a 35-ball half-century. The free-hit went the distance as India’s hopes faltered, then vanished.
After the game Simmons, familiar with the ground because of his involvement with the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, described his innings as one of his best.
“I slept the whole flight, I had got a call after the Afghanistan game and they asked if I was fit to play, I said yeah. I played for Mumbai, I enjoy this pitch.
“I think it was one of my better innings. I got the opportunity to prove myself to my fans. Playing on this pitch I know 180-190 was a par score, the guys said they were ten 10 short, I believed that.”
He also suggested that India were hampered by their lack of an express fast bowler.
“The (Indian) bowling was suspect, they had (Ashish) Nehra and (Jasprit) Bumrah, the two fast bowlers but not express pace,” Simmons said.
West Indies cautiously played out experienced Nehra (1-24) but smacked the two other young fast bowlers Hardik Pandya (0-43) and Jasprit Bumrah (1-42).
Prior to the game captain Darren Sammy had told commentators and media experts who favoured powerful India as the likely qualifiers for the final, that the biblical David had defeated Goliath. It happened again today.
R Sharma lbw b Badree 43
A Rahane c Bravo b Russell 40
V Kohli not out 89
*+M Dhoni not out 15
Extras (lb1, w2, nb2) 5
TOTAL (2 wkts, 20 overs) 192
Did not bat: S Raina, M Pandey, H Pandya,
R Jadeja, R Ashwin, J Bumrah, A Nehra.
Fall of wickets: 1-62 (Sharma, 7.2 overs), 2-128
Bowling: Russell 4-0-47-1 (w1, nb1),
(w1), Brathwaite 4-0-38-0, Benn 4-0-36-0,
Bravo 4-0-44-0 (nb1).
J Charles c Sharma b Kohli 52
C Gayle b Bumrah 5
M Samuels c Rahane b Nehra 8
L Simmons not out 82
A Russell not out 43
Extras (lb4, nb2) 6
TOTAL (3 wkts, 19.4 overs) 196
Did not bat: +D Ramdin, D Bravo, *D Sammy,
C Brathwaite, S Badree, S Benn.
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Gayle, 1.1 overs),
2-19 (Samuels, 3), 3-116 (Charles, 13.1)
Bowling: Nehra 4-0-24-1, Bumrah 4-0-42-1,
Jadeja 4-0-48-0, Ashwin 2-0-20-0 (nb1),
Pandya 4-0-43-0 (nb1), Kohli 1.4-0-15-1.
Result: West Indies won by seven wickets.
Series: West Indies advanced to final.
Man-of-the-Match: Lendl Simmons.
Toss: West Indies.
Umpires: R Illingworth, N Llong; TV – P Reiffel.