Colombo: West Indies batsman Chris Gayle has asked his teammate Kieron Pollard to once against boost his team fortunes with his bat, as he did during his outplay against Australia in their semi-final.
Led by a brilliant unbeaten half-century by Gayle at the ideal time, the Windies rattled up 205-4 off 20 overs. They then bundled out the Aussies for 131 to win the one-sided contest by a massive 74 runs.
Gayle led the boundary-hitting charge on a slow surface at the R Premadasa Stadium. He tore apart the bowlers and ended on 75 not out off just 41 balls. He slammed five fours and six sixes. Marlon Samuels (26) and Dwayne Bravo (37) played cameos to help maintain the momentum.
At the end of the innings, Pollard came to the fore with a breathtaking 38 off 15 balls – which included three towering sixes in the final over, which cost 25 runs. With Pollard’s injection of power the Windies made 131 runs in the last ten overs and overall hit 14 sixes and 13 fours.
“The key was to be there till the end. The plan was to have the other guys play around me. It was a slow start and I didn’t get much strike in the first six overs. What was important was that we didn’t panic and lose focus,” Gayle said.
“Watching the games here, it was a slow track and we knew spin would play a part. But we capitalised on the bad balls and put their spinners under a bit of pressure. We were looking at 150 to 160. To get 40 runs extra was a bonus.”
Gayle was particularly pleased for Pollard, who had struggled with the bat earlier in the tournament, but rebounded to make a major contribution at a crucial time.
“Last night they were showing his Champions League innings for Trinidad against New South Wales on tv. I said to him, ‘for today I need the old Pollard back’. And he did play that part. There’s one more hurdle to cross and hopefully he can give us that boost again and take us to the trophy.”
With a huge target ahead of them, the Australian batsmen succumbed as the West Indies bowlers were again impressive. Pollard (2-6) and Ravi Rampaul (3-16) recorded career-best figures. The spin combination of Samuel Badree (2-27) and Sunil Narine (2-17) also proved too much for the Aussies.