After witnessing the first 20 minutes of the contest against Mexico, it would have been difficult to recognise the difference between the two teams.
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Windies romp into semis
A few years ago a batsman decided to send down some leg breaks one Sunday morning at Syne Village, Penal, just to try something, yesterday the same man was the West Indies leg-spinning hero, as the regional side brushed aside Pakistan with their biggest ever T20 win, to move into the semifinals of the ICC World T20 tournament in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Samuel Badree spun his magic against Pakistan grabbing three for ten off four overs as they crashed to 82 all out, chasing a victory target of 167. After Badree’s work, the West Indies team and another 16,000 Bangladeshis were celebrating, as the team everyone loves —barring James Faulkner, marched on to meet Sri Lanka in the semis.
With the West Indies down in the dumps at 81 for five Dwayne Bravo and skipper Darren Sammy came to the party. They hammered 82 runs from the final five overs, as the white ball which was so difficult to hit, soon started taking a beating. The two right handers—as they did to Australia—mercilessly beat the Pakistanis as they were left to retrieve balls with the help of the crowd. Bravo spanked 46 off 26 balls and Sammy finished 42 not out off 20, as West Indies closed on 166 for six after 20 overs. Fast forward half an hour and the game was effectively over. West Indies defeating Pakistan with spin in Asia, who would have thought—however this “confident group” believes they can achieve the impossible and this they did. With Sammy and Bravo shifting the momentum, the 15-minute break between innings was too little for Pakistan to recover, as they batted like a team already beaten.
Krishmar Santokie sent back Ahmed Shehzad, a centurion in the last match for a “duck” to start the action. At this point, the Penal poacher Badree took over, sending back Kamran Akmal (0), his brother Umar Akmal (1) and Shoaib Malik (2) as the men in green slumped to 13 for four. Andre Russell and Sunil Narine then got wickets as well as Pakistan’s score read 42 for six and fans started leaving to beat the Dhaka traffic.Earlier, Pakistan controlled the game from the toss to over number 15 with their spinners having a stranglehold on the normally free-scoring West Indians. Skipper Mohammad Hafeez robbed the huge crowd on hand of their evening’s entertainment when he sent back the big left hander Chris Gayle via neat stumping from Kamran Akmal for five.
Following him back to the dug out was Dwayne Smith who snicked one from Sohail Tanvir to Akmal.
With two down including Gayle, West Indies were looking wobbly and the crowd had grown quiet. Lendl Simmons then got them going again with typical free-spirited Caribbean batting. His form was catching on to the out-of-sorts Marlon Samuels who also started to thrill with exciting strokeplay. However, indecision between the sticks would result in Simmons being run out for 31 from 29-balls. This precipitated a collapse that saw three wickets falling for 20 runs. Samuels left for 20 and wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin perished for five as the West Indies crumbled to 81 for five.
All was not lost as the two heroes from the last game were at the crease together. What they showed differently from the frenetic chase against the Aussies was that they could also build an innings. They took their time and by over number 17 they went on the war path, much to the delight of the Bangladeshis who had packed the stadium.
Three overs of mayhem saw the ball climb as high as the Dhaka skyscrapers as West Indies realised 57 from their final 18 balls. Bravo started to share the licks with successive sixes off Umar Gul in an over that cost 17 runs. With the innings running away from him Hafeez called on his general Saed Ajmal and he too was hammered. The off-spinner was carved for 21 runs from the 19th over. With six balls to go, the Caribbean gladiators were running for everything. Sammy finished the job nicely with a hurricane 42 not out off 20 balls with five fours and two sixes. At the end of the West Indian flags were in demand and those who got waved them in front of the Grand Stand as they waited for the Windies team to show at the back of the pavilion.
West Indies inns
D Smith c Akmal b Tanvir 8
C Gayle st Akmal b Hafeez 5
L Simmons run out 31
M Samuels b Shahid Afridi 20
D Bravo run out 46
D Ramdin c U Akmal b Babar 5
D Sammy not out 42
A Russell not out 0
Extras lb4, w5 9
Total: 6 wkts (20) 166
Fall of wkts: 10, 22, 61, 67, 81, 152.
Bowling: M Hafeez 2-0-15-1, S Tanvir 4-0-27-1, A Babar 4-0-27-1, S Afridi 4-0-23-1,
U Gul 2-0-29-0, S Ajmal 4-0-41-0.
A Shehzad lbw Santokie 0
K Akmal c Brabo b Badree 0
M Hafeez c Gayle b Russell 19
U Akmal st Ramdin b Badree 1
S Malik st Ramdin b Badree 2
S Maqsood st Ramdin b Narine 18
S Afridi st Ramdin b Narine 18
S Tanvir c Sammy b Narine 14
U Gul c Simmons b Santokie 4
S Ajmal b Russell 1
A Babar not out 3
Extras w2 2
Total: all out (17.5) 82
Fall of wkts: 1, 1, 9, 13, 37, 42, 74, 75, 78, 78, 82.
Bowling: K Santokie 2.5-0-9-2, S Badree 4-0-10-3, M Samuels 3-0-21-0, A Russell 3-0-15-2, S Narine 4-0-16-3, D Smith 1-0-11-0.
West Indies won by 84 runs
Man of the match: Dwayne Bravo.