ICC T20 World Cup | Pollard takes West Indies to fighting 157/7 against Australia

West Indies were propelled by skipper Kieron Pollard, who smashed 44 runs off 31 balls

Skipper Kieron Pollard struck a combative 31-ball 44 to lead West Indies to a fighting 157 for seven against Australia in their concluding T20 World Cup Group 1 clash here on Saturday.

Opting to field in a must-win match, Australia were taken to the cleaners by Windies opener Evin Lewis, who smashed Josh Hazlewood for a hat-trick of fours en route to his 26-ball 29.

‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle made a nine-ball 15 in what seemed his last International appearance.

On a batting-friendly wicket that aided true pace and bounce, the struggling defending champions finally got their rhythm back.

Australia got three wickets for five runs but the Windies kept firing with Pollard holding the innings together.

Pollard slammed one six and four fours while Shimron Hetmyer (27) and Dwyane Bravo, who made a 12-ball 10 in his final International outing, also made useful contributions.

Finally it was Andre Russell who finished it off with two sixes (18 not out from seven balls) to prop the total as the Windies put on 58 runs in the final five overs.

For the Aussies, Hazlewood was brilliant, returning with 4/39 as he bounced back brilliantly after being hit for 20 in his first over.

Australia would have to wait for the result of South Africa later in the day as the two teams are fighting for the second spot from Group 1.

The match also had some significance for the ousted two-time world champions as a win would ensure a direct qualification to ‘Super 12’ for the T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia.

According to the ICC T20 rankings predictor, if the Windies lose they would drop to number nine and hence would not get a direct qualification.

It was an emotional match for the two legendary West Indians — Bravo and Gayle.

Bravo’s one final innings in International cricket was over when he departed after getting caught at long-on.

Bravo was hugged by Pollard on his way out as Russell and others too gave him a standing ovation, while Gayle also gave him an emotional hug in the dugout.

It also seemed a final match for Gayle.

It’s not official yet, but the Windies great was seen waving at the camera and raised his bat after crossing the rope as he was also seen distributing his cricketing gears to the fans in the stands.

Fresh from his career-best performance of 5/19, leg-spinner Adam Zampa dismissed the well-set Lewis in the 10th over with a googly when the left-hander hit a skier only to be taken by Steve Smith at long-with a superb catch.

Scoreboard:

West Indies innings: Chris Gayle b Cummins 15, Evin Lewis c Smith b Zampa 29, Nicholas Pooran c Marsh b Hazlewood 4, Roston Chase b Hazlewood 0, Shimron Hetmyer c Wade b Hazlewood 27, Kieron Pollard c Maxwell b Starc 44, Dwayne Bravo c Warner b Hazlewood 10, Andre Russell not out 18, Jason Holder not out 1, Extras (LB-6, WD-3) 9 Total (For 7 wickets in 20 overs) 157

Fall of wickets: 1-30, 2-35, 3-35, 4-70, 5-91, 6-126, 7-143

Bowling: Mitchell Starc 4-0-33-1, Josh Hazlewood 4-0-39-4, Pat Cummins 4-0-37-1, Glenn Maxwell 1-0-6-0, Mitchell Marsh 3-0-16-0, Adam Zampa 4-0-20-1.

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