Kolkata: West Indies captain Darren Sammy’s unconquered knock of 50 overshadowed Josh Hazlewood’s hat-trick as they beat Australia by three wickets in a World Twenty20 warm-up contest at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday.
The match went right down to the wire as the West Indies got over the line with only one ball to spare. For Australia, pacer Hazlewood returned with figures of 3/13.
There was no toss for the game. Australia batted first after a mutual agreement. Chasing Australia’s score of 161/9, the West Indies got off to a disastrous start with Hazlewood getting rid of Jason Holder (6), Marlon Samuels (0) and Dwayne Bravo (0) in three consecutive deliveries.
Johnson Charles then fell prey to Steve Smith’s leg-spinners as the Caribbean team was left tottering at 27/4 in the eighth over. At the end of 10th over, the score read 56/5.
Andre Russell, who plays for Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Kolkata Knight Riders, remained unfazed and plundered a few boundaries and some sixes, which included a monstrous hit into the stands. However, he tried the big slog too often and was out, caught at long on after a brisk 29.
Skipper Sammy and Carlos Brathwaite got together to rescue the team and brought up its hundred in the 14th over. The two, known for their hard hitting, changed the game in a matter of few overs.
Brathwaite played the role of the aggressor, hitting three fours and two sixes en route to 33 and, after his dismissal, Sammy carried on from where his partner left.
Earlier, Australia got off to a rollicking start as Shane Watson and Aaron Finch punished the bowlers who erred in length. Watson took to a liking for Holder in the third over, hitting him for two consecutive sixes.
In the previous over, Finch had struck Jerome Taylor for two back-to-back boundaries.
Finch was dropped at 29 by Russell but he could not quite capitalise on the miss. He got out, at 33, trying to hit Suleiman Benn as Australia lost their first with the score at 76.
Watson and Smith then put on 30 runs together but Australia lost wickets in a flurry. They were reduced to 117/5 with Watson (60), Khawaja (5), Maxwell (0) and Marsh (2) returning to the dug-out in quick succession.
Smith concentrated on ones and twos more than the big hits and kept the scoreboard ticking. But at the other end, Australia kept on losing wickets.
Towards the end, when they needed quick runs, the West Indies bowlers kept them on a tight leash but they managed to get to a fighting total.
Brief Scores: Australia 161/9 in 20 overs (Shane Watson 60, Steve Smith 36; Dwayne Bravo 4/21, Suleiman Benn 3/37) lost to West Indies 162/7 in 19.5 overs (Darren Sammy 50, Carlos Brathwaite 33; Josh Hazlewod 3/13, Andrew Tye 2/35).