West Indies’ Lendl Simmons seizes chance to sink India and seal final slot

  • India 192-2; West Indies 196-3; West Indies win by seven wickets
  • Lendl Simmons eclipses Virat Kohli with match-winning knock of 83

Press Association

The last-minute injury replacement Lendl Simmons pounced on three hugely-fortunate reprieves to blast the West Indies to a World Twenty20 final against England.

Simmons, who missed out on initial selection due to a back problem, only flew to India on Tuesday to replace the hamstring injury victim Andre Fletcher.

The Mumbai Indians’ Indian Premier League star rode his luck when no-balls denied first Ravichandran Ashwin then Hardik Pandya his wicket, before racking up a match-winning 83, in West Indies’ stunning seven-wicket win.

Simmons also survived being caught late on as Ravindra Jadeja was found to have touched the boundary marker with his foot before flicking the ball back to Virat Kohli.

The 31-year-old’s unbeaten 83 proved decisive, with Andre Russell putting on an unbeaten 43 as the West Indies surpassed the target of 193 with two balls to spare. Now the West Indies, champions in 2012, will meet the 2010 winners England in Kolkata on Sunday.

Kohli’s unbeaten 89 from 63 balls appeared to have left India a defendable total, but loose spin bowling and Simmons’ powerful strikes amid good fortune drove the West Indies home.

Their talisman Chris Gayle could muster only five runs before being dislodged by a swinging yorker from Jasprit Bumrah, but India’s bowling let them down overall.

Earlier, wasteful fielding cost the West Indies the chance to turn the screw on India right from the off. Rohit Sharma’s departure for 43 from 29 balls brought Kohli to the crease and India’s star batsman was desperate to accelerate the innings.


That urgency so nearly caught him cold, but West Indies twice failed to capitalise. Flailing and missing at a free hit off the bowling of Dwayne Bravo, Kohli inexplicably chased a bye only to find himself caught in no man’s land. The wicketkeeper, Denesh Ramdin, dollied an underarm throw at the stumps but missed, before Bravo collected the loose ball and somehow threw wide of the stumps too.

From point-blank range the bowler had even less excuse than the wicketkeeper, but the net result was West Indies blew their best chance at dislodging India’s danger man.

Kohli duly set about making the West Indies pay for that profligacy, hitting 11 fours and a six.

India’s 192 left the Mumbai crowd on tenterhooks ahead of chief bludgeoner Gayle and West Indies’ arrival at the crease. Any fears India had of Gayle battering their bowling attack were soon dismissed, courtesy of the young seamer Bumrah.

The veteran Ashish Nehra’s miserly bowling at the other end restricted West Indies to 33 for two after five overs.

Ashwin thought he had Simmons out for 18, the West Indies’ No4 edging a wide ball to Bumrah who held well at full stretch at backward point, but the bowler was rightly judged to have overstepped the crease for a no-ball.

Johnson Charles was quietly building a fine innings, picking off loose bowling from Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya as the West Indies opener racked up 50 in 30 deliveries.

Just when the flummoxed hosts were running short of answers, Mahendra Singh Dhoni tossed the ball to Kohli, more in hope than expectation, but India’s batting hero struck immediately, luring Charles into a false stroke as he holed out to Sharma for 52.

Charles and Simmons’s 97-run partnership still had West Indies scenting victory however, and India fell prey to a second critical no-ball to the same man in the innings.

Simmons notched his 50 before holing out to Ashwin off the bowling of Pandya, only for a no-ball to save him again.

Simmons twisted the knife by firing the resulting free hit for six. After he was let off again when Jadeja stepped on to the boundary marker, Simmons held his nerve alongside Russell in a final over bowled by Kohli to set up a tournament decider against England.

(Source: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/mar/31/west-indies-india-world-twenty20-report)

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