Windies whirlwind: host nation in shock as India are knocked out in World Twenty20 semi-final
The West Indies achieved their “mission” of shattering India’s dreams of a World Twenty20 title on home soil after they stunned the hosts by seven wickets to reach the final on Thursday.
Lendl Simmons fired an explosive 82 off 51 balls as the Windies broke Indian hearts in the semi-final clash at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium with just two balls to spare and will now face England in Sunday’s final in Calcutta.
“We came here on a mission,” said Windies skipper Darren Sammy. “At the start of the game we said it’s ours for the taking. We have one step left and on Sunday we are going to take that step the best we can.”
The West Indies went into the last over needing eight to win and Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni handed the ball to talisman Virat Kohli, who earlier scored an unbeaten 89.
Simmons grabbed a single off the first ball before Andre Russell smashed a four and six as the Windies ended on 196 for three after India made 192 for two.
Simmons hit seven fours and five sixes while opener Johnson Charles notched 52, including seven fours and two sixes.
It was not meant to be that way for India after Chris Gayle’s wicket was taken early for just five runs but the hosts were left to rue no-balls at crucial stages.
Ravichandran Ashwin thought he had taken Simmons when the batsman was on just 18 but the umpire ruled that it was a no-ball as the Windies star made the most of his luck as he stepped on the accelerator.
In the 15th over Simmons would get lucky a second time when Hardik Pandya thought he had got him out for 50 when he was caught by Ashwin but the umpire ruled a no-ball again.
“The points at which they were bowled was crucial,” Indian skipper Dhoni said. “I don’t want to be too tough on them but when there is pressure you have to be at your best.”
Simmons, who was a late replacement for the injured Andre Fletcher, was given valuable support by Russell who hit an unbeaten 43 off 20 balls, including four sixes as the West Indies made a dash for the finishing line.
“I got a call after the Afghanistan game and they asked if I was fit to play. I said ‘yeah’. I slept the whole flight,” said Simmons nonchalantly. “We’re not just about Chris Gayle. We have 15 match-winners.”
Ashwin endured some brutal punishment at the hands of the West Indies batsmen, going for 20 runs in his two overs.
His fellow spinner Ravindra Jadeja was also hit around the ground, conceding 48 runs in his wicketless four-over spell.
The Indian bowlers at times had trouble getting any grip in the heavy dew at the Wankhede.
Kohli had earlier hit 11 fours and one six in his 47-ball knock as India set a target of 193, regarded as a below-par score on a pitch which has seen a feast of runs during the tournament.
Kohli injected much-needed life into the hosts’ innings after a slow start from openers Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane.
Sharma hit three fours and three sixes in his 31-ball 43 while Rahane took 35 deliveries to reach 40, scoring only two fours and no sixes.
Kohli, who entered the fray in the eighth over after Sharma was bowled lbw by Samuel Badree, upped the tempo, to the delight of a packed crowd at the 33,000-seater stadium.
The defeat could spell the end of Dhoni’s reign as India’s captain in short form cricket although there was no immediate announcement from the 34-year-old about his future.
The skipper sidestepped a question about his future at his post-match press conference.
The West Indies will take on England at Eden Gardens in Calcutta on Sunday after Eoin Morgan’s side defeated New Zealand, also by seven wickets, on Wednesday.