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Windies bow out of T20 World Cup with a whimper


Windies bow out of T20 World Cup with a whimper
Australia opener David Warner plays a lofted drive off West Indies pacer Dwayne Bravo - WIPA picture

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Abu Dhabi – Defending champions West Indies formally limped out of the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup on Saturday, after half-centuries from David Warner and Mitchell Marsh powered Australia to an eight-wicket win.

The Windies failed to defend a target of 158 in their final group match at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, as Warner hit his second half-century of this tournament of an unbeaten 89 from 56 balls and Marsh made 53 from 32 balls to all but assure the Australians of a place in the semi-finals.

Left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein bowled Australia captain Aaron Finch off the inside edge in the fourth over to give the Caribbean side an early breakthrough, but Warner and Marsh added 124 for the second wicket to put the Aussies firmly on course for victory.

Marsh was caught at mid-off from the uncomplicated off-spin of Chris Gayle in the 16th over with one needed before Warner paddled a delivery from part-time off-spinner Roston Chase to deep fine leg for the last of his nine fours to formalise the result.

The defeat was the fourth for West Indies in this tournament, and they finished fifth in the Group 1 table on two points, which imposed serious repercussions on the team’s qualification for next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.

“Overall, it’s been a disappointing campaign all-round,” West Indies captain Kieron Pollard said after play.

“In terms of the batting, we have not lived up to expectations. We have not done well at all when it comes to that. Our bowling has been decent, but it has not been good enough because we have not gotten over the line, and we could have been a lot better with our fielding, so we were not good enough.”

He added: “We have to look at the way we play T20 cricket. Our team was set up for our power hitters to do a lot of the damage, but we were not able to do that.

“What we’ve seen, especially in these conditions (in the United Arab Emirates) is that one guy in the top four must bat as long as possible because it’s hard for guys to come in and try to hit, so going forward that’s one of the things we need to do that better. We have to start from a foundation now, and that’s just the reality of the situation.”

Cricket’s world governing body, the International Cricket Council announced last month that teams could secure their spot in the main draw of next year’s tournament if they finished as either winners or runners-up this year, or as one of the next six highest rated teams in the ICC World Rankings on November 15.

West Indies entered this match eighth, but this defeat dropped them 10th, placing Bangladesh in the prime position to directly qualify for the main draw next year.

It also meant that the Windies will find themselves playing the preliminary round, typically staged before the main draw of next year’s tournament with fellow full members Ireland, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe, as well as qualifying ICC associate member teams.

Sent in to bat, Pollard hit his highest score of a T20 World Cup of 44 to lead his side to 157 for seven from their allocation of 20 overs.

Gayle and fellow left-handed opener Evin Lewis gave the Caribbean side a bright start before three wickets fell for three runs in eight balls and had them rocking on 33 for three in the fourth over.

Pollard anchored a couple of tidy partnerships later in the innings to urge his side past the 150 mark, but pacer Josh Hazlewood kept the scoring in check with a spell of 4-39 from his allotted four overs.