Australian captain George Bailey admits he felt helplessness kicking in as Australia’s best-laid plans to combat West Indies match-winner Chris Gayle failed in the World Twenty20 semi-final overnight.
Nanjing Night Net

“Chris Gayle can do that to you,” Bailey lamented after Australia’s 74-run defeat, but he refused to blame the middle order for collapsing in pursuit of the West Indies’ intimidating total of 205. Australia’s middle order also faltered against Pakistan’s spinners in the previous Super Eights game.

“No, it’s 205. If it’s 140 and our middle order fall over like that then absolutely. But if you’re going to get 205 the blokes who are going to get the runs are your opening batters and number three. One of them is going to have to get close to 100. I don’t think you can blame the middle order for not chasing down 205,” Bailey said.

The astute Tasmanian was appointed to lift Australia’s fortunes in the shortest format and he led the team to the last four of the tournament in Sri Lanka. The bowlers controlled Gayle for about four overs but when he cut loose, Australia’s campaign unravelled.

The cool and destructive Jamaican carried his bat, blasting 75 not out from 41 balls.

Bailey said he would have batted first if he’d won the toss. Instead, the Australians had to chase the biggest target in the tournament, and couldn’t recover from the early losses of Shane Watson and David Warner.

“I was disappointed to see the coin land on heads as well. At this stage of the tournament there were a few things going that way,” said Bailey, who produced his best Twenty20 innings of 63 in 29 balls, in a losing cause.

“I thought we bowled okay early on and you just need to take wickets. Take nothing away from the West Indies today, the way Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo came out and batted took the pressure off Chris. He really didn’t have to force his hand at all, he could bat at the absolute tempo he wanted. Then when he did go, he went beautifully. In hindsight there are always a hundred things you would do differently but I think we picked our best bowling attack for the conditions tonight and just got outplayed.”

The West Indies’ progression to Sunday’s final against host nation Sri Lanka has been far from convincing, with early losses to Australia and Sri Lanka. They advanced to the Super Eights with a washout against Ireland, and to the semis by scraping past New Zealand in a Super Over.

“We struggled to reach this far and we have to give thanks but there’s just one more hurdle and there’s no pressure on us,” said Gayle.

“Oh definitely we’re going to rock against Sri Lanka. We’re looking forward to it, we played against them in one of the Super Eight games so we know what to expect, the atmosphere, the noise and everything. It was really good to get that run against them even though we lost the game.”

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