Indies to face England in final
West Indies crushed the hopes of a billion Indians when they produced a magnificent run chase to stun the home side by seven wickets and clinch a place in Sunday’s final of the Twenty20 World Cup.
Entering yesterday’s semi-final as the underdogs against tournament favourites India, the Caribbean side silenced the full house at the Wankhede Stadium by overhauling an imposing target of 193 with two balls to spare in a riveting encounter.
They were propelled by half-centuries from Lendl Simmons who carved out an exhilarating, career-best unbeaten 82 and opener Johnson Charles, who belted an aggressive 52, while Andre Russell weighed in with a whirlwind unbeaten 43.
Stumbling at 19 for two in the third over after losing key players Chris Gayle (five) and Marlon Samuels (eight), West Indies recovered through the trio’s efforts to reach 84 for two at the halfway stage, before plundering 112 runs off the last 58 balls of the innings.
Requiring eight runs from the final over bowled by part-time medium pacer Virat Kohli, West Indies managed just a run from the first two deliveries, but Russell tugged the third ball to the midwicket boundary before clearing the ropes at wide long on to spark celebrations among the visitors.
Simmons, who only arrived here from the Caribbean earlier this week to replace the injured Andre Fletcher, faced 51 deliveries and struck seven fours and five sixes.
With the win, West Indies set up a meeting in the final in Kolkata against England, who they beat in their opening game of the preliminaries.
Earlier, the in-form Kohli top-scored with an unbeaten 89 as India raced to 192 for two off their 20 overs after they were sent in.
Openers Rohit Sharma (43) and Ajinkya Rahane (40) put on 62 for the first wicket before Kohli arrived to marshal the latter half of the innings.
He crunched 11 fours and a six off 47 balls, and added 56 for the second wicket with Rahane before dominating an unbroken third-wicket stand of 64 with Captain MS Dhoni who was unbeaten on 15.
India scored freely in the opening overs with Sharma smashing three fours and three sixes off 31 balls, and Rahane giving support with a 35-ball knock that included two fours.
Rohit pummelled 20 runs from Russell’s second over, the fifth of the innings, but missed one from leg-spinner Samuel Badree that came on with the arm and was lbw in the eighth over.
His dismissal paved the way for Kohli, who dominated the Windies bowling en route to his 16th T20 International half-century.
He had scored just one when he was almost run out twice off the same delivery, attempting to steal a bye, but wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin missed a throw at the stumps and bowler Dwayne Bravo also missed with the follow up throw. Kohli capitalised on his good fortune to storm to his fifty off 33 balls.
He took centre stage as India gathered 65 runs from the last five overs.
Asked to score at just over nine-and-a-half runs per over, West Indies were stunned in the second over when Gayle was bowled by a low, swinging full toss from seamer Jasprit Bumrah, which hit the base of off stump.
Samuels struck two boundaries in the same over, but perished in the next over from left-armer Ashish Nehra, backing away and needlessly scooping a simple catch to mid-off.