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Page last updated at 00:02 GMT, Wednesday, 12 May 2010 01:02 UK

Australia crush West Indies to reach Twenty20 semis

ICC World Twenty20, St Lucia:
Australia 109-4 (16.2 overs) bt West Indies 105 (20 overs) by six wickets

Match scorecard

Brad Haddin
Brad Haddin helped Australia home with an innings of impressive calm in St Lucia

By Sam Lyon

Australia eased into the World Twenty20 semi-finals with a ruthless six-wicket win over hosts West Indies in St Lucia.

The Windies, needing a big win to reach the semi-finals, lost captain Chris Gayle in the first over and only scored 105 off 19 overs in a feeble display.

Unbeaten Australia, who face Pakistan on Friday for a place in the final, eased home with 22 balls to spare.

As a result, Sri Lanka finished second in the group and face England in the first semi on Thursday at 1630 BST.

It means the tantalising prospect of a final between traditional rivals England and Australia remains alive, though few will write off holders Pakistan or Sri Lanka given the pair's fine history in this form of the game.

(The semi-final) will be very tough. Pakistan are always very tough - especially in these conditions

Australia captain Michael Clarke

Australia captain Michael Clarke was certainly not yet looking ahead to the final, as he said: "We've done well so far and it was nice to finish with another win. Now we look forward to the semi-final.

"But if we lose there we're knocked out, what's happened previously is irrelevant now.

"Hopefully on Friday we can continue this momentum into the final. It will be very tough, though, Pakistan are always very tough - especially in these conditions."

Beaten skipper Chris Gayle, meanwhile, simply apologised for his side's display: "Let me apologise to the fans.

"To get knocked out of the T20 is a tough one. The display was absolutely terrible. It's a pressure situation, losing early wickets (and) the guys kind of crumbled in the middle.

"Nobody built a partnership and got a big total on the board. I'm very disappointed."

Pakistan will certainly hope to fare far better than the Windies when they face Australia on Friday at 1630 BST.

606: DEBATE

At the toss, the hosts knew only a comprehensive win would see them through to the semi-finals at Sri Lanka's expense, while the only way Australia could be dumped out was with a 150-run defeat.

Both of those scenarios received a massive body blow as early as the second legitimate delivery of the innings when Windies lynchpin Gayle - the ball after punching a glorious four down the ground - was bowled off his pads by Dirk Nannes.

The silence in the crowd was matched only by the evident slump in shoulders of the home team and the hosts were never in contention thereafter, despite some brief resistance from Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan.

Chanderpaul flicked a couple of leg-side boundaries and Sarwan crunched one over mid-wicket, but the former departed when David Hussey held on running backwards from mid-on.

Dwayne Bravo fell next, rather unfortunately, when Mitchell Johnson deflected a drive from Sarwan onto the stumps at the non-striker's end with Bravo short of his ground, before Narsingh Deonarine holed out on the mid-wicket boundary and Dinesh Ramdin edged behind soon after.

Chris Gayle is bowled
The fall of Gayle to Nannes was a real body blow to the Windies' chase

The wickets continued to tumble as the Windies crumbled in the face of Australia's ruthless execution, Kieron Pollard stumped off leg-spinner Steve Smith and Darren Sammy offering a return catch in successive balls.

A further reflection of the hosts' tame surrender came when part-time spinner David Hussey collected two in an over, Sarwan and Jerome Taylor both falling to ill-advised and poorly-executed hoiks.

Nikita Miller and Sulieman Benn did at least, sensibly, attempt to bat out the overs but by the time the latter was bowled by a Shane Watson yorker, the hosts had managed a paltry 105 off 19 overs.

It meant, to qualify, they needed to bowl Australia out for 83 or less. To push the Aussies down into second in the group, they had to restrict them to 18.

Unsurprisingly, neither outcome ever looked likely.

David Warner got Australia off to a flier, smashing four fours and a huge six back over the bowler's head onto the pavilion before he was caught at slip and fellow opener Watson bowled off his gloves by Taylor and Benn respectively.

But Haddin, in particular, ended any Windies hopes of a miraculous turnaround by slapping boundaries through mid-on, point, mid-off and square-leg.

There was still time for captain Clarke to succumb to a fine piece of fielding from Bravo, whose diving stop and pick up and throw brought brief excitement to the Beausejour Stadium.

In the end, though, Haddin eased Australia all but home - the 32-year-old falling to a Darren Sammy catch at mid-on with his side two runs short of victory - leaving a Gayle wide for four to gift the Aussies the winning runs in a fashion reflective of his side's performance.



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see also
Sri Lanka to face England in semi
11 May 10 |  Cricket
World Twenty20 day 12 photos
11 May 10 |  Cricket
England defeat Kiwis to top group
10 May 10 |  England
Pakistan beat S Africa to qualify
10 May 10 |  Cricket
Red-hot Aussies thrash Sri Lanka
09 May 10 |  Cricket
Gayle on song in West Indies win
09 May 10 |  Cricket
West Indies hammered by Sri Lanka
07 May 10 |  Cricket
Australia crush India in Barbados
07 May 10 |  Cricket
ICC World Twenty20 2010
17 May 10 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket


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