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Gayle comes in the way of India's goal

Last updated on: May 10, 2010 01:00 IST


Hosts West Indies, led from the front by captain Chris Gayle, ensured India's exit from the ongoing ICC World T20 with a convincing 14-run win in their Group F Super Eight match at Kensington Oval, Bridgetwon (Barbados), on Sunday.

Chasing a formidable target (170), India could put up only 155 for nine in their stipulated 20 overs.

The weakness, rather lack of aptitude of the Indian batsman, against short deliveries came to the fore yet again as the West Indies bowlers, like their Australian counterparts had done on Friday, utilised this frailty to their advantage.

The win enabled the hosts, under pressure after a mauling by Sri Lanka in their previous match, keep alive their hopes of reaching the last four.

On the othar hand, it marked the third straight occasion in the span of a year that India, despite the backing of the most lucrative board in the game, failed to make it to the semi-finals of an ICC event.

Suresh Raina was the top-scorer for India with a 25-ball 32, inclusive of four hits to the fence and one over it, while captain MS Dhoni contributed an 18-ball 29 - with two boundaries and two sixes - to the cause.

West Indies were led from the front by the belligerent Gayle. He may be erratic, inconsistent and not very dependable, but when he does get his aggressive streak right, the opposition can rest assured of a woeful day on the field.

Call it bad luck, misfortune or simply a pathetic day in the office, India were at the receiving end of a Gayle blitzkrieg on Sunday. One could both sympathise and empathise with India's plight as the champions of the inaugural edition were blown over by Gayle-force, in a match crucial to their future in the tournament.

Gayle found form in a very important game, his spectacular 66-ball 98, inclusive of five hits to the fence and seven huge ones over it, not only ensuring his side a good total but also nullying any advantage the Indians might have had after winning the toss.

India made a tentative start before losing their first wicket in the fourth over, Murali Vijay (7) hitting a Darren Sammy delivery straight to Kieron Pollard at deep square leg.

Three balls later, Gautam Gambhir cut past point for the first boundary of the innings.

The first boundary of the innings had taken 22 balls coming but the next two didn't take long, Gambhir hitting successive boundaries off the first two balls of the fifth over by Kemar Roach, the second being an edge that went between the keeper and first slip.

However, Roach had his revenge with the next ball, bowling another short one and inducing an edge -- Ramdin making no mistake behind the stumps.

As the field restrictions eased, India were in some trouble at 33 for two.

The introduction of Pollard into the attack, in the eighth over, led to the demise of Rohit Sharma (5), caught behind by Ramdin.

India were reduced to 38 for three midway through the eighth over.

Suresh Raina helped his team recover lost ground with a valiant 25-ball 32. He was particularly severe in Pollard's second over, helping himself to 15 runs, including a six over deep midwicket followed by successive boundaries.

However, Gayle then took matters in his hand, and in his first over had Raina caught by Sammy at deep midwicket.

Raina's dismissal also brought an end to a 42-run fourth wicket stand with Yuvraj Singh (12) that had brought the Indian innings back on its feet after the initial setbacks.

Yuvraj lasted four more balls, hitting a Suleiman Benn delivery straight to Shivnarine Chanderpaul at midwicket.

Yusuf Pathan (17) eased the pressure with successive sixes off Gayle.

Skipper Dhoni (29) joined the party, smashing Bravo for a boundary, that helped India cross the 100-run mark (in the 15th over), and following it up with a six over long-on.

India needed 61 runs from their final five overs.

However, another short delivery from Jerome Taylor put paid to their hopes, Pathan hitting straight to Wavells Hinds at deep fine leg.

The fielder was guilty of dropping Dhoni at sweeper cover in the next over by Roach.

Harbhajan (14) smashed one over long-on off Roach and Dhoni did the same over square leg off Taylor in the 18th over.

Dhoni was run-out in the penultimate over courtesy a direct hit by Bravo, but Roach raised Indian hopes after bowling four wides and a no-ball.

However, Harbhajan eventually skied to Bravo at long-on to leave India with the task of scoring 19 runs in the final over.

Alas, it was too tough an ask for the Indian tail.

Earlier, the hosts, after a cautious start, made a commendable 169 for six in their stipulated 20 overs.

The home side, after scoring just 45 in their first eight overs in what was essentially a cautious start, smashed 124 runs in their subsequent 12 overs.

Ashish Nehra was the pick of the Indian bowlers with figures of three for 35 while Harbhajan Singh was easily the best with impressive figures of none for 16.

The others bowlers were so disappointing that skipper Dhoni had a difficult time deciding how to rotate them. No points for guessing, all his rotations, rather decisions, backfired on him.

Harbhajan opened the bowling for India and bowled an impressive first over, giving away just two runs.

Zaheer Khan followed it up with an equally good second over.

However, it is not easy keeping Gayle tied down for long, the West Indies captain broke the shackles off the second ball of Harbhajan's second over with a massive six over square leg.

And when Nehra was introduced into the attack in the fourth over, Gayle welcomed him, first smashing him past a diving mid-off for a boundary and then hitting to the mid-on fence three balls later.

As the field restrictions eased the home team had started on a cautious note - as the situation demanded, making just 31, but on a positive side, had not lost a wicket.

India's first chance at taking a wicket came in the eighth over - bowled by Yusuf Pathan - but Ravindra Jadeja put down Shivnarine Chanderpaul (23) at short fine - Jadeja's woeful time in the Caribbean continuing.

Gayle ensured Windies surpassed the 50-run mark in the ninth over with a massive six over long-on off Zaheer - the over costing India 13 runs.

And the skipper celebrated the occasion with yet another maximum, towards the same area, in the next over by Pathan.

However, on this occasion, it was an incredible shot to say the least. And going to a distance of 102 metres, the longest six of the tournament thus far.

The reintroduction of Nehra into the attack in the 12th over almost got instant reward -- the wicket of Gayle -- but lack of communication from the Indian fielders - Dhoni and Pathan in this case - ensured the chance wasn't taken.

Gayle found the third man boundary two balls later to reach a well-deserved half century.

However, Nehra finally had a reward for his persistence when Chanderpaul top-edged to Dhoni.

The first wicket partnership yielded the hosts 80 runs in 71 balls and, more importantly, helped them negotiate the early overs successfully and negate any advantage India might have had after winning the toss.

Jadeja was introduced into the attack in the 13th over and any hope India had of tightening the noose around the opposition batsmen went up in smoke. For Jadeja, who gave away six sixes in as many balls against Australia, was at his generous best, giving away 16 runs in his first over.

Gayle first smashed him ove midwicket for maximum, and two balls later, Darren Sammy (19) cleared the long-off fence.

And when Gayle hit Zaheer to the square leg fence in the second ball of the 14th over, it ensured the West Indies had reached the 100-run mark in double quick time.

The hosts had put their foot on the pedal but in their bid to accelerate they did lose a few wickets along the way.

Sammy hit straight to Murali Vijay at long-on to give Jadeja at leats one reason to celebrate.

The celebration didn't last long though, with Kieron Pollard (17) smashing him over long-on for a maximum two balls later.

Gayle maintained the momentum, smashing two massive sixes off Suresh Raina's second over - the 17th of the innings.  

The skipper smashed a six, his seventh, over midwicket off Zaheer's penultimate over to move into the 90s.

However, in his bid to accelearte Pollard skied to Pathan at long-on. And Dwayne Bravo (1) didn't last long either, hitting a Nehra delivery straight to Rohit Sharma.

Ramnaresh Sarwan (0) hit the first delivery he faced straight to Sharma to give Nehra his third wicket. 

And Gayle failed to complete a well-deserved hundred as he was run-out in that dramatic final over.

Earlier, India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni called correctly and asked the West Indies to bat first.

Overnight rain delayed the start of the match by half-an-hour.

Chris Gayle, his Caribbean counterpart, also seemed to concur with Dhoni's decision.

India went into the match with the same side that lost against Australia while there was just one change in the West Indies line-up - Denesh Ramdin coming in place for Andre Fletcher.