WI WHIP CHAMPS
Charles, Gayle on fire in World T20
A career-best 84 from Johnson Charles and a typically enterprising 58 from Chris Gayle trumped half-centuries from Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales to give West Indies a 15-run victory over title-holders England in the Twenty20 World Cup, yesterday.
Charles smoked 10 fours and three sixes from 56 balls, earning the Man-of-the-Match award, and Gayle smashed six fours and four sixes off 35 balls, sharing 103 for the first wicket, as West Indies posted 179 for five from their stipulated 20 overs in the Super Eight match, at the Pallekele International Stadium.
Ravi Rampaul gave West Indies a bright start to their defence, removing opener Craig Kieswetter and Luke Wright for ducks from successive balls in the opening over, but Morgan gave England hope with an unbeaten 71 and Hales made 68, as the defending champions reached 164 for four in a tense finish.
Marlon Samuels conceded just eight runs from the final over with his uncomplicated off-spin darts with England needing 23 for an unlikely victory.
West Indies earned two points for the result and will face Sri Lanka in a top-of-the-table clash tomorrow, after the hosts earlier prevailed over New Zealand in a one-over eliminator. See Pages 62 & 63
Rampaul had Kieswetter caught at point from a miscued pull with the second ball of the chase, before Wright sparred at a rising delivery and gave an edge to Gayle at slip from the next delivery, leaving England no runs for two wickets.
The momentum, however, shifted from West Indies to England, when Jonny Bairstow came to the crease and put on 55 for the third wicket with left-hander Hales. But a brilliant catch on the long-on boundary from Kieron Pollard, off of Gayle's bowling, ended Bairstow's resistance, when he tried to clear the boundary from the last ball of the 10th over.
West Indies came under attack from Morgan, whose innings included four fours and five sixes from 36 balls, and Hales with five fours and two sixes from 51 balls, as they put on 107 for the third wicket.
Samuels ended the stand with the third-last ball of the match, when he had Hales stumped to formally seal England's fate.
Earlier, Charles and Gayle set West Indies up for a big total with their opening stand before a batting collapse almost undermined them.
Gayle batted with typical aplomb, striking three of his sixes in one over from left-arm spinner Samit Patel, before he was caught at long-on from off-spinner Graeme Swann's bowling in the 11th over.
Samuels was caught at backward point for five off England captain Stuart Broad in the 14th over, and Kieron Pollard was caught at square third man off Steven Finn for one, as England fought back to reduce West Indies to 128 for three in the 16th over.
Charles, whose innings ebbed and flowed, was caught at mid-on off Jade Dernbach in the 18th over. West Indies captain Darren Sammy followed four balls later, bowled by his opposite number for four, leaving Dwayne Bravo, not out on 10, and Andre Russell, not out on 11, to carry the fight over the last 10 balls.