March 31, 2016

Lendl Simmons ends India's World T20 dream - India v West Indies, World T20 2016, semi-final, Mumbai

Lendl Simmons

Lendl Simmons, playing his first match of the tournament, plundered a 51-ball 82 to help West Indies beat India by seven wickets to reach the final of the World Twenty20 on Thursday.

Simmons replaced an injured Andre Fletcher, who had hurt his hamstring against Afghanistan. West Indies didn't miss his services, as Simmons thumped seven fours and five sixes in his match-winning innings.

Earlier, Darren Sammy - West Indies' captain - had won the toss and opted to bowl first, given that the due-factor would trouble India's much-acclaimed spin attack. His decision paid rich dividends, as R Ashwin - India's spin mainstay - bowled just two overs, due to a wet ball.

Instead, MS Dhoni relied on Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja to do the job. Right-handed Simmons, who normally opens for West Indies, came to the crease in the third over, with his side in trouble at 19 for two. It took him just three balls to find the boundary and there was no looking back thereafter, as he and Charles methodically took India's bowlers apart.

Simmons was caught, twice, off no-balls from Pandya; and he made the hosts pay for the reprieve and clubbed Jadeja for two sixes and a four in the 11th and 13th over. The onslaught had reduced the deficit to 77 from 42 balls.

Kohli then accounted for Charles who made a 36-ball 52, but his departure compounded India's woes as it brought Andre Russell to the fore, who smashed a four and a six from the first three balls he faced. India, by the 15th over, had 55 runs to defend from 30 balls.

Simmons hit two fours and two sixes of Jaspreet Bumrah's to leave West Indies with just 20 to get from 12 balls. Russell hit four boundaries to put India out of its misery, with two balls to spare. Earlier, Kohli had starred for India with the bat with a quick-fire 47-ball 89.

"I played for Mumbai (in the IPL), I enjoy this pitch. I think it was one of my better innings," Simmons, the Star of the Match, said. "I got the opportunity to prove myself to my fans ... Playing on this pitch, I know 180-190 was a par score ... the guys said they were ten runs short, I believed that ... I got three chances, two no-balls and a six went my way and I cashed in."

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