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Taylor-made win for Windies

By Harish Kotian in Mumbai
Last updated on: October 18, 2006 23:57 IST
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Jerome Taylor came up with a magical spell as the West Indies shocked world champions Australia by 10 runs in a Group A match of the ICC Champions Trophy at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai, on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old fast bowler claimed the wickets of Michael Hussey and Brett Lee with the last two deliveries of his ninth over and then bowled Brad Hogg with the first delivery of his final over to perform the West Indies' first-ever hat-trick in One-Day Internationals, as Australia ended up with 224 for 9 in reply to the defending champions' score of 234 for 6.

Electing to bat first, the West Indies collapsed to 63 for 4 after 15 overs, but Brian Lara and Runako Morton added 137 runs for the fifth wicket to rally the team to a healthy total.

Morton was the West Indies' top scorer with an unbeaten innings of 90 from 103 balls, including seven boundaries and a six. He was deservedly adjudged man of the match.

Lara sizzled in the middle overs for a brisk knock of 71 from 94 balls, including seven boundaries and two sixes.

For Australia, only Adam Gilchrist played with some authority, scoring 92 from 120 balls, inclusive of 11 boundaries. He added 100 runs for the fifth wicket with Michael Clarke, who played a subdued innings of 47 from 85 balls. The rest of the batsmen struggled as the Aussies surprisingly tasted defeat in their opening match of the tournament.

West Indies innings:

Australia opted to open their bowling with Brett Lee and Nathan Bracken, holding back Glenn McGrath. Maybe they wanted the ace pacer to have a go at Brian Lara when he walked in.

Bracken struck the first blow when he forced Wavell Hinds (1) to edge one to the slips in the fourth over.

Dwayne Smith was promoted to number three to make use of the Powerplay overs, but the experiment failed as the right-hander was caught at square leg off Brett Lee for 8.

Ramnaresh Sarwan got off to a confident start, hitting two boundaries from the first two balls he faced, from Lee. The signs were clear -- the pitch was not as bad it was in the last two matches here. The question remained to be seen whether it would stay true throughout the duration of the match.

Gayle fell to a pretty tame dismissal as he tried to run the ball down to third-man region. He opened the face of the bat to Shane Watson, but could only guide the ball straight to wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist. He scored a brisk 24 off 26 balls, but his dismissal left the West Indies in a spot of bother at 47 for 3, in the 12th over.

Runako Morton came in at number five, as Lara decided to drop further down the batting order. It simply defied all logic. Lara, the best batsman and most experienced in the Windies line-up, preferred to stay in the dressing room instead of coming out and taking charge as his team slipped into trouble quite early in the match.

He, however, did not have to wait long, as Ramnaresh Sarwan fell leg before wicket to part-timer Michael Clarke for 21. The West Indies were 63 for 4 after 15 overs.

It must be mentioned that the pitch was not to be blamed for the four quick wickets that the West Indies lost. It was just disciplined line and length bowling and poor shot selection by the batsmen.

Lara and Morton set about repairing the damage cautiously, making sure they did not lose another wicket soon.

Lara, especially, after a slow start, blossomed and the boundaries started flowing with regularity.

The pair brought up their 50-run partnership for the fifth wicket in 86 balls and things finally started to look bright for the Windies. They enjoyed another slice of luck in the 33rd over, when Morton, on 41, was dropped by Ponting off Bracken on the off-side.

Morton though continued to play aggressively and reached his fifth one-day international half-century in the 35th over. The 28-year-old now had to ensure that he did not throw his wicket away at this crucial stage of the match and forge a big partnership with Lara so that the West Indies could post a challenging total.

When Lara is on song, he can dismiss even good deliveries with relative ease. A six off Watson in the 38th over was proof of that. The ball was not that short in length, but he pulled it high and handsome over the mid-wicket boundary and without much ado.

The 100-run partnership between the two batsmen came off 145 balls in the 40th over. Off the very next ball, Lara brought up his half-century, his 61st in ODIs, off 77 deliveries, inclusive of five boundaries and a six, as the West Indies reached 162 for 4.

The Mumbai heat and humidity seemed to take its toll on Lara as he started feeling pain in his back in the 44th over. A runner was called for as the West Indies captain struggled while running between the wickets.

But his timing and shots were still intact as McGrath was welcomed back to the attack in the 45th over with a lofted off-drive straight that rocketed past him. But the champion bowler had his revenge next ball when Lara was caught in the covers trying to hit another boundary.

Lara played a superb knock of 71, adding 137 runs for the fifth wicket with Morton. His 94-ball knock included seven boundaries and two sixes and had given his team a big chance of a challenging total. It remained to be seen whether Morton and the tail-enders could carry on the momentum and make maximum utilisation of the final five overs.

Morton kept the runs coming in the final overs with powerful shots, including a huge six off McGrath. But his partner Carlton Baugh Jr struggled and it really made the difference as the Australian bowlers managed to control the scoring rate after Lara's dismissal, giving away just 29 runs in the last five overs.

Morton finished unbeaten on 90 as the West Indies reached 234 for 6 in their 50 overs.

Morton, playing in just his 23rd ODI, hit seven boundaries and a six in his 103-ball knock, helping West Indies recover after the early fall of wickets. The West Indies will certainly be delighted with this score, considering the early cluster of the wickets and the 80 all out in the previous match here against the Sri Lankans.

For Australia, Bracken was the most successful bowler, taking 2 for 42 in his 10 overs. Surprisingly regular spinner Brad Hogg bowled just three overs, with Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke doing much of the work.

The pitch looks good for batting and Australia's powerful batting line-up should not be too worried with a target of 235. But the West Indies have some good, effective spinners in Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, who can prove quite handy on such surfaces.

Australia innings:

Adam Gilchrist, back in international cricket after a long rest of six months, started in confident fashion with a boundary off the second ball of the innings. But Ian Bradshaw delivered the first blow when he claimed the wicket of Shane Watson (0) in the third over.

In the very next over, Ricky Ponting dragged a delivery from pacer Jerome Taylor onto his stumps and was bowled for just 1. The West Indies now had the upper hand, and even the sparse crowd made clear their support clear for Lara and his boys.

Damien Martyn (17) was back in the pavilion soon after. He hit a short ball straight to Dwayne Bravo at backward point off Bradshaw as Australia slipped to 44 for 3 in the 11th over.

The Australian batsmen were struggling with their timing on a pitch that saw the ball not coming to the bat as quick as they were expecting.

Boundaries were far and few between and pressure seemed to be telling on newcomer Andrew Symonds, who was just intent on attacking upon his arrival at the wicket.

West Indies' hopes rested a lot on how their part-time spinners, Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, would operate on this pitch, which was offering a bit of assistance.

Symonds fell to Gayle for 18, bowled, as he charged down the wicket and missed the ball completely.

Australia were 81 for 4 after 20 overs and it was important that they maintained the run rate in the middle overs.

Gilchrist seemed intent on playing a big knock and guiding his team till the end. He reached his half-century off 71 balls, with seven boundaries in the 28th over.

He and Michael Clarke kept the run rate going at a steady rate in the middle overs. They scored 43 runs between the 30th and the 40th over, making sure that the required run rate didn't climb too high, above the 6 per over mark.

At the end of 40 overs, Australia were 171 for 4, needing another 64 runs from the last 10 overs with six wickets in hand.

Just when it looked that the two batsmen would take Australia all the way, they lost the key wicket of Gilchrist. The Aussie wicketkeeper was run out for 92 after a misunderstanding with Clarke. He hit 11 boundaries during his 120-ball knock, stretching more than three hours in the hot and sapping conditions at the Brabourne.

The stage was perfectly set for Michael Hussey, reputed for finishing close matches like this.

Hussey and Clarke added 24 runs before the latter fell, caught and bowled to Bravo for 47 in the 47th over. It was a huge blow for the Aussies as the right-hander was well settled, having played 85 deliveries, with three boundaries to his credit.

His wicket seemed to have titled the scales slightly in favour of the West Indies, with just the tailenders to follow. But with Hussey still at the crease, Australia knew they still had a chance.

Hussey, who averages around 80 in 44 one-dayers, could not live up to his top billing. He was bowled by Taylor as he tried to hit him across the line for 13 as the West Indies started sensing victory.

Brett Lee was dismissed leg before wicket off the first ball he faced. He played back to a full delivery and was caught plumb in front of the stumps by Taylor.

Australia now faced a huge task of scoring 21 in the last two overs, with just two wickets in hand.

Taylor completed his hat-trick off the first delivery of his 10th over, the final of the innings, with the wicket of Brad Hogg. It was the perfect icing on the cake for the Windies, who days after being thrashed by Sri Lanka, produced a brilliant showing both with the bat and the ball to stun the world champions.

Taylor, just 22, finished with 4 for 49 in 10 overs to take his team to a well-deserved victory.

Among the other bowlers, Bradshaw took 2 for 38 in his 10 overs. But the most crucial spell was by spinners Samuels (0 for 36) and Gayle (1 for 39); they gave away 75 runs in the 20 overs they bowled between them.

Australia finished on 224 for 9 and lost the match by 10 runs, a result one wouldn't have guessed at the start match. Just days ago the West Indies were bowled out for a paltry 80 and now they stunned the world champions. That day Lara had said they could repeat their 2002 title win. It seems they have started on the right foot.

The Australians could well be having a few nightmares tonight, pondering what it will take to win this tournament.

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Harish Kotian in Mumbai

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