Gayle's power had Watson sweating
Colombo, Sri Lanka - The general consensus was that Australia went hammer and tongs in its quest for 192, and victory against the West Indies, with an eye on the weather. Shane Watson debunked that theory, saying the Australians had no idea rain was around until he saw the groundstaff running in with the covers.
Australia had reached 100 for 1 in 9.1 overs at that stage and was declared winner by 17 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method to secure its place in the Super Eights of the ICC World Twenty20 2012.
“It (the rain) didn’t influence the way we batted at all,” said Watson, named the Man of the Match for a second game running. “We knew we had to try and get the runs to balls down as close as we could as quick as we could. When you are chasing over 190, you always have to have a few big overs. If Michael (Hussey) or myself got out at that time, it wasn’t too big of a task for the guys coming in later on. In the end, we had no idea about the rain until it started hosing.”
Watson took 2 for 28 from his four overs and was unbeaten on 41 off 24 deliveries to atone for putting down Chris Gayle on four. Gayle went on to make a punishing 54. “For about the next 16 overs!” Watson said when asked if that dropped catch had played on his mind during the West Indian innings.
“I know how much of a difference it makes to our team and to everyone to get Chris Gayle out. No doubt I was feeling that pain until I was able to get him out,” said Watson. “In the meantime, he had done a fair bit of damage and given a lot of momentum to the West Indian side. That was very disappointing but in the end, to try and make up for it in some way with the bat especially, it never makes you feel any better but at least it gave us a chance of winning the game.”
Watson himself was the beneficiary of a dropped chance, put down on 28 at deep mid-wicket in a potential game-changer, especially with the intervention of the elements.
“I was very happy, especially that he tipped it over for six as well,” laughed Watson. “That certainly helped. Dwayne Smith is a very good fielder. As soon as I spotted exactly who it was, I was just about 100% confident he was going to catch it but one thing I did know was that I had hit it right out of the middle, so it was going to take quite some catching. There are turning moments in a game. My dropped catch of Chris Gayle certainly turned the game in the West Indians’ favour. Unfortunately, dropped catches can turn events and I was lucky it was my turn while I was batting.”
Australia was quite ordinary with the ball but turned on the heat with the bat, and Watson said it had left him and the team with mixed emotions. “Bowling-wise, at times we bowled well but at times we executed very poorly considering we knew exactly where these guys were going to score their runs, especially Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels,” remarked Watson.
“We knew where their strength areas were and we didn’t execute anywhere near our plans. I am certainly one of those guys. Especially to Marlon Samuels I didn’t execute my plans. In the end, for us to be able to go a long way in the tournament, we certainly need to be better at that.
“From a bowling perspective, we definitely need to improve to be able to try and limit these guys with such quality can do but batting-wise, we are confident in our batting line-up. We know how important our top three is to our batting side to be able to try and set a platform for our batting unit. It’s not going to happen every game; fingers crossed, in a perfect world it would happen every time, but we know we must make the most of what we can.”