Simmons shatters India’s cup dreams
A billion Indian hearts were broken on Thursday night as title aspirants India were on Thursday knocked out of the ICC World Twenty20 with a heartbreaking seven-wicket defeat at the hands of West Indies, who capitalised on the home team’s sloppy bowling display in a high-scoring semifinal showdown here.
Put into bat, India rode on in-form Virat Kohli’s blazing unbeaten 47-ball 89 to notch up a challenging 192 for two, but the spirited Caribbean chased down the total and made the final with two balls to spare, leaving the capacity crowd at the Wankhede Stadium completely shattered.
India had themselves to blame for the debacle as they made costly blunders while bowling and allowed Lendl Simmons three lives. Simmons, playing for the first time in the tournament in place of injured Andre Fletcher, made full use of the lives to smash his way to a scintillating unbeaten 82 off 51 balls.
2012 winners West Indies will now take on England, champions in 2010, in the summit showdown at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday.
Simmons, caught off no ball twice in his innings that contained 5 sixes and 7 fours, led the West Indian charge.
India were left ruing the let-offs to Simmons due to overstepping committed, first by Ravichandran Ashwin when the batsman was on 18 in the seventh over, and then Hardik Pandya when he was on 58 in the 15th over with West Indies cruising at 132 for 3.
Simmons put on a vital partnership of 97 runs in 62 balls with another youngster Johnson Charles (52 in 36 balls) after West Indies had been rocked by the dismissals of swashbuckling opener Chris Gayle (5) and Marlon Samuels (8) with just 19 on board.
Charles departed after striking 2 sixes and 7 fours, leaving Simmons and Andre Russell (43 not out in 20 balls) to take the West Indies to the victory mark, with the latter striking two successive fours off Kohli’s last over.
The unfinished stand between Simmons and Charles, who clobbered four sixes and three fours, produced 80 in 40 balls.
This was the third time in four clashes in the tournament’s history that Windies had got the better of India who had won their earlier clash two years ago in Bangladesh on way to finishing runner-up to Sri Lanka.
India’s total was their second-highest in the tournament’s history.
In reply, West Indies buckled under pressure in front of a crowd of over 32,000 and slumped to 6 for 1 and 19 for two before Simmons, Charles and Russell turned things around to dash India’s hopes.
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