The Caribbean flavour bubbled over as skipper Darren Sammy hit two towering sixes off the third and fourth balls of the last over to steal the 12 runs needed for a six-wicket victory over Australia in their ICC World Twenty20 Super 10s match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday.
The West Indies players, not least Chris Gayle and Darren Bravo who was there at the other end when Sammy creamed the winning runs, were beside themselves in celebrating the victory and even pulled out the Gangnam moves from their 2012 World Twenty20 triumph.
An improbable 42 were needed off the last three and 11 came from the first of those with Bravo hitting two boundaries off Doug Bollinger. Needing 31 from the last two overs, to be bowled by death-over specialists Mitchell Starc and James Faulkner, Sammy hammered a six, two fours and two couples before taking a single off the last ball to bring the equation down to 12 off six. The first ball of the last over bowled by Faulkner, who had ruffled Caribbean feathers with some pre-match verbals, was an excellent yorker which hit Sammy's pad as he was trying to get out of the way. The next was another full ball which Sammy dug out back to the bowler. The third was a full toss which he dispatched over the wide long off ropes, before hitting the ensuing full delivery straight back over the ropes and into the sightscreen to send the crowd into delirium, which was nothing compared to the joy of the victors and their dance moves.
Chasing 179, champion West Indies opener Chris Gayle started like the house on fire everyone had expected in the two previous matches. Gayle hit Mitchell Starc for four consecutive boundaries in the second over. The third over by Doug Bollinger saw two boundaries off Dwayne Smith's bat and the first of two sixes by Gayle over fine leg. Gayle's unmatched aggression meant that West Indies were sitting pretty after the end of six overs at 61 for one with Gayle batting on 41 off 17 balls.
He slowed down somewhat, ending his innings -- which was given a lease of life when Brad Haddin missed a stumping with Gayle on 26 -- when he was caught at deep midwicket by Maxwell off a James Muirhead googly for a 35-ball 53 in the 13th over. When Samuels was acrobatically caught by keeper Haddin, the stage was set for Bravo and Sammy.
Earlier, after electing to bat first Australia were in early trouble as openers David Warner and Aaron Finch perished in their brief attempt to get off to a flying start by hitting medium pacer Krishmar Santokie and spinners Samuel Badree, Malron Samuels and Sunil Narine out of the attack. After Narine bowled a wicket maiden that claimed Watson Australia were in trouble at 41 for three after six.
Skipper George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell then focused on picking singles and punishing the bad balls. Maxwell hit Sammy for two fours and a six in the ninth over, which cost 16. Sammy brought back Samuels, and Bailey obliged by hitting straight to his counterpart at short midwicket.
But Maxwell continued lofting the spinners over midwicket and continued his sublime touch as he hit five fours and three sixes, but when on 45 hit his 22nd ball from Badree straight down the throat of Bravo at deep midwicket.
At 100 for five after 11.3, James Faulkner and Brad Hodge reassessed their position well and put together 52 runs in 4.2 overs before Narine bowled Hodge in the 18th. A few lusty blows by Haddin took the score to a competitive 178 for eight.