Kolkata: A stunning hat-trick from Josh Hazlewood was not enough for Australia, as West Indies skipper Darren Sammy led from the front with an unbeaten half-century to fashion a morale-boosting three-wicket win for his side in a World T20 warm-up match at the Eden Gardens on Sunday. (World T20 Warm-up: Clinical England Ease to Six-Wicket Win Over New Zealand)
After Carlos Brathwaite turned it around with a 27-ball 33 (3×4, 2×6), Sammy played the sheet anchor role with an unbeaten 50 that included one six and six fours to steer them home with a ball to spare. (India’s Winning Run Comes to Halt With Narrow Defeat to South Africa in Warm-up)
The win was all the more important as the big-hitting opener Chris Gayle did not bat despite being in the playing XI and they were staring down the barrel after Hazlewood reduced them to 18 for three in the fourth over with his hattrick in their chase of 162.
With his searing inswinging deliveries, Hazlewood (3/13) first dimissed Jason Holder lbw, before unsettling the woodwork of Malron Samuels and Dwayne Bravo and they were 77 for six needing 85 from last seven overs.
But Delhi Daredevils recruit Brathwaite, who was snapped up for Rs 4.20 crore in the Indian Premier League, displayed his batting prowess taking the attack to the Aussie camp with his big hits especially against Mitchell Marsh in the 15th over that yielded 17 runs.
He got out in the next over but by then the team needed just 37 from 27 balls and Sammy, the Windies 2012 World Twenty20 winning skipper, completed the formality holding on at the other end.
Earlier, Australia opted to bat following a mutual decision as Shane Watson (60 from 39 balls; 4×4, 4×6) and Aaron Finch (33 from 24b; 6×4) gave them an explosive start.
The duo shared 76 runs for the opening wicket before Sulieman Benn gave the West Indies their first breakthrough dismissing Finch with Australia at 85 for one.
The Windies pegged the Aussies back, riding on Dwayen Bravo’s 4/21, while Benn returned with an equally impressive 3/37 as it was their bowling effort that lifted the side at a time when their fielding was once again sloppy.
Having come here short on match practice, it was a morale boosting win for the Windies, who lost their first warm-up match to India on March 10.
Sammy’s men leave for Mumbai on Monday to begin their tournament proper against England on March 16.