Windies Make Semis in a Thriller

West Indies needed their now customary melodrama before they could beat New Zealand in a nerve-wracking Super Over and advance to the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 Championship here yesterday.

Marlon Samuels clobbered the penultimate delivery of the over from seamer Tim Southee over midwicket for six to earn the Caribbean side victory in a tense finish at the Pallekele International Stadium after the scores were locked at 139 in regulation play.
 
Even then, the Windies were not guaranteed a spot in the final four and were forced to anxiously on the outcome of the second match of the double-header between England and Sri Lanka.
 
England, who started the day second in the group, went down to unbeaten Sri Lanka by 19 runs to replace West Indies in third spot and crash out of contention for a semi-final berth.
 
Sri Lanka had already qualified for the penultimate phase of the competition.
Facing a must-win situation, West Indies were dismissed for a paltry 139 off 19.3 overs after they were sent in. Talismanic opener Chris Gayle top-scored with 30 while Kieron Pollard got 28 and Samuels 24.
 
Seamers Southee (3-21) and Doug Bracewell (3-31) finished with three wickets apiece, while off-spinner Nathan McCullum picked up two for 19.
Captain Ross Taylor then stroked a superb unbeaten 62 from 40 balls to put the Black Caps on course for victory.
 
However, with the Kiwis needing two from the last ball of the regulation overs, Bracewell was run out by substitute Dwayne Smith's direct hit from midwicket, attempting a suicidal second run.
 
In the dreaded Super Over, New Zealand posted 17 runs, thanks to lusty hitting from their hero Taylor, who took a four and a six off the fourth and fifth deliveries sent down by off-spinner Samuels.
 
Gayle then put the Windies ahead when he swatted the first delivery from Southee, a no-ball, over long-off for six.
West Indies could only manage six runs off the next four deliveries, but Samuels settled the issue in style, clearing the ropes at deep midwicket with a full-length Southee delivery to spark wild celebrations.
 
For the second successive game, West Indies' powerful line-up was kept in check by disciplined bowling. Bracewell accounted for opener Johnson Charles (eight) and all-rounder Andre Russell (six), who was promoted to number three, to leave the Windies on 36 for two in the fourth over.
 
Gayle and Samuels added 31 for the third wicket, the best stand of the innings, as they tried to kick-start the scoring. The left-handed Gayle slammed three fours and two sixes off just 14 balls, while Samuels hit two fours and a six off 22 deliveries.
When Gayle perished to a catch at the wicket in the seventh over, Samuels put on a further 26 for the fourth wicket with Darren Bravo (16) before he hit McCullum down Southee's throat in the deep at 87 for four in the 11th.
 
There was no acceleration as the Windies could only muster a measly 51 runs from the last nine overs. West Indies struck early through seamer Ravi Rampaul, as Rob Nicol walked across and was adjudged lbw for three.
Source: Jamaica Observer

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