Australia rains on Windies parade
Australia booked their place in the Super 8 phase of the ICC World Twenty20 after claiming a 17-run victory over the West Indies using the Duckworth-Lewis method.PT0M0S 620 349
The pain of dropping Chris Gayle, the world's most explosive batsman, drove Shane Watson to atone with a performance that pushed Australia into the Super Eights of the World Twenty20.
Australia won a rain-shortened match against the West Indies, one of the teams fancied to win the tournament, by 17 runs on Duckworth-Lewis calculations despite Gayle and Marlon Samuels firing rapid half-centuries in a challenging total of 8-191.
Despair ... Shane Watson spills a catch from Chris Gayle. Photo: AFP
Gayle's 54 from 33 balls was only possible because Watson dropped him on four, in the fourth over, diving forward from third man.
Watson tortured himself over what he felt was a game-changing moment "for about the next 16 overs", even though he surged back into the game to grasp Gayle's wicket.
"I know how much of a difference it makes to our team, to everyone, if we're able to get Chris Gayle out," Watson said after adding a second man of the match performance to his dominant display against Ireland.
Chris Gayle made Australia's bowlers pay after being dropped on four. Photo: Getty Images
"No doubt I was certainly feeling that pain until I was able to get him out but in the mean time he had done a fair bit of damage and gave a lot of momentum to the West Indian side.
"That was very disappointing but in the end, to be able to make up for it in some way, with the bat especially. It never makes it feel any better but at least we were more chance of winning the game anyway.
Watson took 2-29 and led the run chase with 41 not out from 24 balls. He had Mike Hussey (28 not out from 19) with him when rain stopped play in the 10th over, with Australia 1-100.
Relief ... Shane Watson after dismissing Chris Gayle. Photo: Reuters
He was reprieved on 28 on the square leg boundary by Dwayne Smith, who committed an even worse blunder than Watson's drop when he spilt a simple catch and tipped the ball over the boundary for six.
"I was very happy, especially that he tipped it over for six as well. That certainly helped," Watson said.
"Dwayne Smith's a very good fielder. I was just about 100 per cent confident he was going to catch it, but I did know I hit the ball right out of the middle so it was going to take a bit of catching."
"There are turning moments in a game. My dropped catch of Chris Gayle certainly turned it towards the West Indies' favour. Unfortunately dropped catches can turn events. I was lucky it was my turn when I was batting."
Watson said he was unaware that the rain was coming until the covers appeared, so the weather did not influence the audacious approach the Australians took to their batting.
David Warner clobbered 28 from 14 balls before he received a contentious caught behind decision.
"I actually had no idea that there was rain around until it started hosing down," Watson said. "You know when you're chasing over 190 that you're always going to have to have a few really big overs in there."
Australia's first Super Eight game is against India on Friday, with South Africa and Pakistan in its side of the draw. The West Indies have to beat Ireland in their last group game on Monday to progress to the next phase.