Chris Gayle kept his cool with an unbeaten 85 as West Indies nearly slipped up in dramatic style against Scotland at Clontarf. Chasing a revised 165, they lost six for 38 in seven overs and entered the final three overs needing 29 to win. But after a succession of team-mates had lost their heads with wild swings, Gayle guided his side away from a huge embarrassment and alongside Darren Sammy the victory came off the penultimate ball.
The key blow came in the 28th over when he launched John Blain for a six that relieved the growing pressure. Four leg-byes followed off the next delivery and the requirement closed in on a more comfortable run-a-ball. But Gayle needed a calm head at the other end and Sammy, who showed batting potential during his Test debut at Old Trafford, kept his composure. He was facing when the final over began with nine needed and virtually sealed the result with a spanking drive past cover followed by a neat flick through midwicket.
The main reason the match came alive was an outstanding spell from offspinner Majid Haq. Gayle and Devon Smith eased to an opening stand of 95, Gayle repeating the destructive form he showed against Netherlands, and everything appeared under control. However, when Smith top-edged a sweep to slip, Runako Morton struggled to maintain the momentum.
Haq removed Morton with a quicker ball and next delivery the game came alive when Lendl Simmons missed his glide to third man and Haq was on a hat-trick. Dwayne Smith responded with typical bravado, launching the hat-trick ball out of the ground, only to miscue a repeat in the next over off Ryan Watson.
Scotland now really believed they had a chance and they edged into pole position when Denesh Ramdin became Haq’s third bowled victim and Austin Richards succumbed to the pressure by missing his heave against Watson. It created a great finish to a match that had struggled to come to life with regular, heavy showers fragmenting Scotland’s innings.
The first interruption came two overs into the innings and on resumption Daren Powell nipped out both openers. Watson put bat to ball and reached 21 off 20 deliveries before falling to Ravi Rampaul.
Navdeep Poonia, who hasn’t been able to find a place in Warwickshire’s first team, guided the total into three figures without further loss, but two quick strikes by the impressive Fidel Edwards put Scotland onto the back foot as rain drove the players off for a second time.
With less than five overs of the innings remaining when the weather relented, Scotland were left with the tricky balancing act of needing to increase their scoring rate, but without shelling too many wickets so that Duckworth-Lewis would work in their advantage.
Neil McCallam boosted the total with a 23-ball 27, clubbing four boundaries, and Blain struck a handsome six off Powell in the final over. Coupled with a boost from the calculations, it nearly proved enough to pull off a major shock and, although West Indies sneaked through in the end, Scotland can be proud of their effort.
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:Chris Gayle, england, Quadrangular Series 2007 Ireland, Scotland, West Indies
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Friday, July 13th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.
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