Jerome Taylor created history at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai by becoming the first West Indian bowler to take a hat-trick in One Day Internationals. Taylor with his magical three deliveries helped Windies clinch a 10-run victory over World Champs Australia. Windies who were a charged up unit on the field successfully defended their total of 234 although the Aussies looked to be truly in control of the game in most part of their chase. The wicket did its part in the evening and the batsmen succumbed to pressure and it was West Indies who had the last laugh.
A hot and humid day it was at Mumbai and the pitch didn’t have any reputation considering the two games that have been played on this ground in this tournament. Today’s game was being played on the third wicket and Brian Lara took the right decision in batting first after winning the toss. Three changes were made by West Indies, two of which were forced ones. Shivnarine Chanderpaul was ruled out because of food poisoning and Corey Collymore had flown back to Barbados for the birth of his child. Runako Morton, Ian Bradshaw and Jerome Taylor were the replacements for Chanderpaul, Collymore and Fidel Edwards. Aussies opted for Shane Watson in place of Simon Katich.
The new ball was shared by Brett Lee and Nathan Bracken and the combination was a successful one in reducing Windies to 25 for 2. Wavell Hinds was the first to go after he was drawn forward and was forced to edge a Bracken delivery. Dwayne Smith fell playing a flick shot off Lee straight to square leg. Australia consolidated their position in no time by removing the inform Chris Gayle who had steered Shane Watson to Adam Gilchrist after scoring 24 from 26 deliveries. Ricky Ponting was giving his pace bowlers short spells as he wanted to conserve their energies and he brought on part time left arm spinner Michael Clarke in the second powerplay itself. Clarke who was bowling it flat surprised Ramnaresh Sarwan with an armer to which the right hander was late in getting his bat down. Sarwan departed after making 21 that did have a couple of ferocious shots through the off side, his exit had got his side in trouble at 63 for 4 in 15 overs.
Skipper Brian Lara walked in at a new position, as low as no.6 to join Runako Morton, the no.5 for today although he plays mostly as an opening batsman. A slow start was what these two batsmen could get but once they got the measure of the bowling and the slowness of the track, the gears shifted slowly to take their side into a healthy position. Morton soon reached his 5th ODI fifty in 63 balls and once he got there, his confidence increased and the shots came out freely. Lara at the other end was starting to cut loose and an effortless pull shot off Shane Watson for a six over mid wicket sent the danger signals for the Kangaroos. The crowd was behind Brian Lara and whatever he had done with the bat was cheered loudly. The fifth wicket partnership went the distance to provide the ideal platform for the slogs and once the business end of the innings was reached both batsmen were on full attack. Lara picked up his second six which was a wristy flick off Brett Lee that sailed over the head of Michael Hussey at deep square leg. It was Glenn McGrath who struck for Australia removing Lara caught at covers but not before he took a beating from the Prince of Trinidad. Brian Lara’s innings came to an end with his side at 200 for 5 in the 45th over after scoring 71 from 94 balls. Lara in course of his innings had suffered a cramp in his lower back that required the physio attention and had to get a runner in Wavell Hinds just two balls before he had got out.
Carlton Baugh the wicket keeper batsman stretched the Windies total with a useful 13 and West Indies eventually finished at 234 for 6. Runako Morton remained undefeated on 90 in 103 balls with 7 fours and a six smacked off Glenn McGrath over long on. Things could have been different for the West Indies had Ricky Ponting had held a relatively simple catch to his standards while running backwards from covers off a miscued hit from Morton in the 33rd over off the bowling of Nathan Bracken when he was in the 40s. Ponting used 7 bowlers out of which three were spinners. Nathan Bracken was the only bowler who had bowled out his 10 which he did conceding 42 runs besides taking a couple of wickets.
The target was a gettable one for a team which had the batting till no. 9. West Indies badly needed to make inroads to have a firm grip over the game which they did by seeing the back of Watson and Ponting early. Watson played a reckless pull off Bradshaw to be dismissed and his skipper followed him after dragging back a skidding delivery from Taylor onto his stumps. Any further slump was delayed by Martyn along with Gilchrist but that was only for a little while as Martyn got out driving Bradshaw to covers. It wasn’t great going from the Aussies even though Gilchrist was now joined by the big hitting Andrew Symonds who fell in the 20th over bowled through the gate by Gayle’s off break. Australia slipped to 81 for 4 and they required some serious repair work to get closer to the target of 235.
The reconstruction job was in progress for the Aussies courtesy of a steady fifth wicket partnership between Adam Gilchrist and Michael Clarke. West Indies missed out on a quality spinner in these middle overs who could do the damage. There was more of run containment from the likes of Gayle and Samuels who are useful part time off spinners only. One thing in favour of Windies was that it was a deteriorating wicket and once a partnership is broken, the new batsman would have struggled to get going immediately. Adam Gilchrist and Michael Clarke knew exactly that as they never gave up even though they were being irritated by Chris Gayle’s provoking words and actions that were directed in particular at Michael Clarke. It was good to watch as players on either side seemed to have raised their games as their pride was at stake. It was Gayle who came out as the winner atleast for a while as he collected Hinds’s throw from short thirdman to run out Adam Gilchrist. Gilchrist was out after making a fighting 92 that took him 120 balls, so unlike him. There were 11 fours in that but not a single six, his dismissal saw Australia 53 runs short of their target with 50 balls remaining.
Windies’ bowlers had become extremely accurate after this and the boundaries were hard to come by for the Aussies. Dwayne Bravo provided a crucial breakthrough in the 47th over foxing Clarke with his magical slower delivery. Michael Clarke was caught and bowled after he had made 47 from as many as 85 deliveries. After Clarke’s downfall, it was a Taylor show whose three deliveries knocked out the Aussies out of the match. His first victim was Hussey who was bowled swinging across the line, his second was Lee who got a skidding inswinger that kept low to be given out lbw by Rudi Koertzen. The hat-trick delivery came in the first ball of his final over, also the final over of the match where he bowled Hogg round his legs after the left hander had tried to improvise moving around the crease. The Aussies had needed 16 from the last over which couldn’t have been achieved by the no.10 and no.11 who were better known for their bowling!
Jerome Taylor was the man who changed the fortunes in the end finishing with 4 for 49 while Ian Bradshaw was the bowler who kept it quiet initially with 2 for 38 in 10. The two part time spinners – Gayle and Samuels bowled incredibly well not to concede more than 40 runs after bowling their full 10 overs. But the Man of the Match was Runako Morton for his 90 that had given the West Indies bowlers the runs to defend. A cracker of a match it was at Mumbai and things are certainly getting tense in this Champions Trophy and it’s a good thing that it’s an evenly matched contest between the bat and the ball in this tournament since yesterday’s match between Pak and SL.