Millennium Post

It’s Gayle versus Watson as WI take on Aussies

A determined Australian outfit will be aiming to eliminate the 'Chris Gayle factor' when they meet a rejuvenated West Indies in the semi-final of the ICC World Twenty20 on Friday.

For Australia, it will be a chance to get into the final for the second time in succession after the 2010 edition and once again stamp their class as world's premier cricketing outfit. For West Indies, it's more about the identity and trying to fight the inner demons which have affected their cricket since late 80's.

A berth in the final of a global event can be a big boost for the Caribbean nation where basketball, athletics and soccer have captured the imagination of the masses. Therefore, it's redemption time for both the teams although their circumstances are entirely different. Behind every 'Big Battle', there's always a mini-battle that spices up a marquee contest.

When the two teams lock horns on Friday, it will also be a battle between Shane Watson and Chris Gayle. If Watson, who has won four man-of-the-match awards in five matches will play a key role in Australian set-up, Gayle can change the complexion of the match at any point of time with his ferocious power-hitting.

By sheer statistics, Watson is miles ahead of Gayle having scored 242 runs in five matches along with 11 wickets which makes him the favourite to win the 'Player of the Tournament' award. However, Gayle who has so far hit 10 sixes in five matches, has scored two 50's and on his day can tear apart any bowling attack in the world.

The law of averages did catch up with Watson in the last match against Pakistan but that means that he will be hungrier than ever to take Aussies to the summit clash. While Gayle and Watson will hold fort as the main protagonists for their respective sides, there will still be a few competent cricketers who will try to play the supporting roles to the best of their abilities.

Marlon Samuels has beautifully complemented Gayle. He might not look as destructive as Gayle from the onset but once set, can be as devastating as anybody. For Australia, the main supporting role has been played by Mike Hussey whose responsible innings ensured smooth passage into the semifinal.
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