Aussies Bid Gayle and Bravo a Farewell

Australia won by 8 wickets with 22 balls remaining.

West Indies 157/7

Australia 161/2

As the sun fell on the West Indies’ T20 empire, one of the game’s all-time greats, David Warner, delivered a spectacular knock to make a seemingly difficult goal appear simple.

With Dwayne Bravo almost certainly playing his final match for the West Indies and Chris Gayle may be playing his final match for the country, it was a sad day. It was also a reminder that Australia’s bowlers were consistently outplaying them. Josh Hazlewood led the way while Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell put up a lot of effort to get West Indies to 157.

Warner answered with his greatest World Cup score of 89* off 56 balls, while Mitchell Marsh scored his maiden half-century with the bat to go with his tight bowling. The fact that they completed it in the 17th over raised their net run rate to 1.216, leaving South Africa requiring a 61-run victory to deny Australia a semi-final berth if they reach 160.

With little to lose, the West Indies may be a dangerous option. Pat Cummins followed with a classic six over long-on, let alone a short-of-a-length slower ball, but Gayle ended up playing on the following ball. He hoisted his bat as he walked off after being dismissed for 15 runs off nine deliveries, and was hugged by teammates just across the rope.

Glenn Maxwell got an over-in with two left-handed hitters in the middle before Marsh and Adam Zampa applied the choking hold. Marsh didn’t give anything away in terms of speed or space, while Zampa kept his rapid leg-breaks and variations going. Hazlewood returned to bowl a wicked bouncer at Shimron Hetmyer’s armpit, who couldn’t get out of the day, bringing the score to 91 for 5.

Against the West Indies batsmen, Australia’s planning and execution were bang on, giving nothing away to Bravo, although Pollard and Russell showed flashes of what made them T20 greats. Russell concluded the innings with consecutive sixes, giving them 48 off the last four overs and some hope.

Warner continued to assault hitting Chase and Jason Holder on the powerplay. Australia was well on their way to 53 for 1 in eight overs when he eventually got the better of Hosein in the sixth over. However, towards the end of the competition, he seemed to have regained his timing. He selected the best balls to attack and executed them flawlessly.

Bravo and Gayle took the final two full overs of the contest. Warner used a switch-hit to get four points on Bravo before pulling him for six. Gayle then bowled while wearing his helmet and sunglasses, joking around with Warner. Gayle had Marsh caught at mid-off with what may have been his last delivery in international cricket.

To celebrate the wicket, he chased after Marsh and rushed on him from behind for an embrace. There were a lot of smiles and grins to commemorate successful careers.