Colombo: Australia captain George Bailey says he did all he could to stop Chris Gayle’s incredible semi-final onslaught on Friday night, but the West Indian’s brilliance ensured he played a key role in his side’s victory.
The big-hitting Jamaican smashed six sixes on his way to 75 from 41 balls as West Indies booked a place in the World Twenty20 final with a 74-run victory over the Aussies.
“There was a plan and that was to get him [Gayle] out early and put pressure on their middle order. If you don’t get him, his record speaks for itself,” Bailey told Gulf News.
“Gayle didn’t get to face as many balls as he would have liked to when he was in full flow. Until the 10th over, he had faced only 17 balls, but the guys batting around him batted very well.”
West Indies racked up an intimidating 205 for four when batting first, including 25 from the last over, and Australia could only muster 131 all out in reply despite Bailey’s impressive 63.
The Australian skipper was left to rue the Caribbean side’s batting form and also the toss, which he thought was crucial. “It’s disappointing to see the coin land on heads. At this stage of the tournament, you like to see a few things going your way,” he said.
“I thought we bowled well early on and you just need to take wickets. Taking nothing away from the West Indies, I thought the way Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo came out and batted, they took the pressure off Chris. He didn’t have to force his hand at all, he could bat at the absolute tempo he wanted. And when he did go, as he does, he went beautifully.
“In hindsight, in Twenty20 cricket, there are hundred things that you could do differently. I think we had our best bowling attack for the conditions and just got outplayed.”
Despite his team not reaching the final, Bailey was proud of his team, who were runners-up to England in the last World Twenty20 in 2007. “Australian cricket is very proud of what it has achieved, though we haven’t yet won the Twenty20 tournament. All that you can do in Twenty20 is to give yourself a chance to get to the knockout stages and then play your best cricket. We did the first bit but just got ouplayed tonight,” he said.
Bailey went on to defend the inclusion of the out-of-form David Hussey in the team for the semi-final. “We brought him back in because of his experience. He has played so much T20 cricket and one-day cricket that it clinches it,” he said.
“We were hoping that he is going to step up and show that experience, which didn’t happen. From one game, you can’t say anything. If my innings was hollow, by the time he came out to bat, the game was probably gone for us.
“[When he bowled] I thought his first over was very good, the second over not bad, probably one bad ball. He was the best player in the domestic T20 competition last year and age isn’t a factor. If he keeps playing until 2014, he is someone we will look at for the challenge.”