Sport : Cricket

Bailey hails top order

23rd September 2012, 12:56pm

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Shane Watson: Unbeaten on 41

Shane Watson: Unbeaten on 41

Captain George Bailey praised Shane Watson, David Warner and Michael Hussey after the top-order trio guided Australia into the World Twenty20 Super Eights with a 17-run Duckworth/Lewis victory over West Indies in a rain-affected Group B game in Colombo.

A heavy downpour interrupted the Australians' charge towards their 192 target when they were 100 for one - 17 runs ahead of the Duckworth/Lewis par score after 9.1 overs.

Warner blasted 28 off 14 balls before being dismissed in the third over, leaving all-rounder Watson - man of the match for the second straight game - in full flow. He was unbeaten on 41 from 24 deliveries alongside Hussey (28 off 19) when the heavens opened.

"They set up a great foundation," Bailey said. "Watson and Warner did the job. Hussey was good too. But we are disappointed with the rain, because an exciting finish was set up."

Bailey admitted there was room for improvement in the overall display, though.

"There was some good stuff and there was some very ordinary stuff as well," he added.

"The challenge is to lessen the gap between the good and the ordinary stuff. We did do that in patches, but there were certainly patches when they got away from us.

The Windies earlier posted 191 for eight from their 20 overs after captain Darren Sammy won the toss and opted to bat first - their total underpinned by half-centuries from Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels.

Opener Gayle smashed 54 off 33 balls - including five fours and four sixes - before a soft dismissal, caught and bowled by Watson, while Samuels plundered three fours and four sixes in reaching 50 off 32. He holed out to Warner at long-on off the bowling of veteran spinner Brad Hogg.

Paceman Mitchell Starc (three for 35) and Watson (two for 29) were the pick of the Australia bowlers, the former having been passed fit after recovering from gastroenteritis.

The result left West Indies facing a winner-takes-all clash with Ireland on Monday to determine who will join Australia in the Super Eights.

Sammy felt his batsmen did a good job in setting a challenging total but accepted his bowlers should have restricted the Australia top order.

"The batsmen did what was required of them. We knew Australia would come back hard, and we took too long to respond," he said. "[Fidel] Edwards started well, but like I said we took too long to respond."

Sammy found a positive, though, in the way Gayle in particular took the game to Australia.

"The way he goes about his innings, we just sit in the dressing room and just enjoy watching him play," the skipper added.

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