Australia beat SA to open Super 12s at WC
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct 23, (AP): West Indies opened its T20 World Cup title defense with a stunning failure on Saturday, bowled out for only 55 by England in the lowest total at the tournament by a top-tier nation. England completed a six-wicket win by reaching 56-4 in just 8.2 overs to gain revenge for losing the final to West Indies at the last T20 World Cup in 2016 – and, more importantly, start this campaign off in convincing fashion. The West Indies innings in Dubai disintegrated in 14.2 overs in a flurry of attempted big hits on the first day of Super 12 action, when the so-called big teams join the fray. Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Nicholas Pooran all went down swinging and, in the blink of an eye and with some sharp catching by England, the defending champions were 42-6 after 8.5 overs. Obed McCoy embodied the innings’ cavalier approach by throwing his bat at the first ball he faced, despite his team being 49-8 at the time, to be caught at long-on. England lost four wickets but was never realistically in danger of losing the game and Jos Buttler (24 not out) confirmed the inevitable by smacking a pull shot for four off West Indies captain Kieron Pollard. England won with 70 balls remaining. On a low day for West Indies, spin bowler Akeal Hosein may have had the only highlight with his diving, one-handed caught and bowled effort to remove Jonny Bairstow.
In other match, Marcus Stoinis took Australia home with a match-winning 24 not out under pressure to beat South Africa by five wickets and open the Super 12 stage at the T20 World Cup on Saturday. Stoinis won the Group 1 game and the first meeting of heavyweights at the tournament with a four over midwicket, taking Australia to 121-5 with two balls to spare and past what appeared to be an easy victory target of 119. It wasn’t so straightforward, though, as South Africa showed late fight, inspired by a flying catch by Aiden Markram at wide mid-on to dismiss Steve Smith for 35. Tabraiz Shamsi bowled Glenn Maxwell next over – as Maxwell tried to switch hit – and Australia had some late jitters at 81-5 in the 16th over. The equation came down to 18 off the last two overs. A composed Stoinis eased the pressure with a four off Anrich Nortje in the second-last over, also over midwicket, and hit two boundaries in the last over off Dwaine Pretorius.