x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Warner blasts gives Australia perfect record

Clarke's team remain unbeaten on home soil and the captain praises his side after they beat the West Indies with eight overs to spare

David Warner smashed the second quickest 50 in Twenty20 history yesterday against the West Indies at the SCG.
David Warner smashed the second quickest 50 in Twenty20 history yesterday against the West Indies at the SCG.

Michael Clarke, the Australia captain, praised the attitude of his side after they signed off their summer in emphatic style as David Warner and Shane Watson blasted Australia to a worryingly easy eight-wicket victory over the West Indies at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) yesterday.

The win ensures the Baggie Greens finish the summer with an unblemished record, their first in nine years, as they chased a modest 139 for victory after restricting the tourists to 138 for seven from their twenty overs. Warner, the explosive opener, blasted seven sixes and five fours on his way to 67 off 29 deliveries in front of an appreciative crowd of 31,639. He completed his half-century in 18 balls, the second quickest in T20 history, before holing out at mid-on off the bowling of Nikita Miller.

Fellow opener Watson finished 62 not out off 33 balls, capping a brilliant personal summer in all three forms of the game, smashing the hosts to victory with eight overs to spare. Clarke hailed his side after they finished the 2009/10 season on home soil unbeaten. "I am very happy," he said. "I can't believe that performance from both David Warner and Shane Watson. 'Watto' played brilliantly. "We were fantastic with the ball and our [high] standards in the field continued.

"Our attitude over the last few days has been fantastic, we have been positive and played great cricket with both bat and ball." Dan Christian (four) struck the winning runs for a dream debut which also saw him claim two for 29 with the ball. Warner started with a bang, hitting three sixes and a boundary off Kemar Roach's opening over. The crowd favourite was lightheartedly booed by the SCG faithful for playing a forward-defensive stroke with the next ball he faced, but the powerful left-hander was quickly back in favour when he hit Darren Sammy over mid-on.

No one was spared as the New South Wales player slammed the hapless visitors to all parts of the ground to send Chris Gayle's men home without a victory on Australian soil this summer. "I went out there to play my normal game and enjoy it in front of the fans," said Warner. "I practice switch-hitting in the nets and luckily it came off tonight." Earlier, consecutive sixes from Sammy to end the innings helped the visitors post 138 for seven in conditions conducive for batting.

Sammy, who finished on 26 not out, and Narsingh Deonarine (36 not out) tried in vain to save the day for the West Indies with an unbeaten 40-run stand after the top order again failed to produce. Christian bore the brunt of the late onslaught, conceding 18 runs off the final over, while Ryan Harris (two for 27) set the tone at the top of the innings to finish the pick of the Australian bowlers. Gayle's miserable run with the bat continued when he picked out Steve Smith at fine leg to give Harris his first scalp of the innings, departing for an unconvincing 12 off 14 balls.

"It has been a tough summer," admitted the West Indies captain. "We have been hammered into the ground, we have lost fair and square." The decision to elevate Runako Morton up the order backfired when the right-hander edged Harris to Cameron White at second slip for a golden duck. Kieron Pollard was unable to save the day when he was bowled by Watson for five, and when Wavell Hinds ran himself out without scoring the West Indies were in deep trouble.

The predicament worsened when Smith, the all-rounder, took a spectacular overhead catch on the square-leg boundary to end Travis Dowlin's (31) resistance and hand Christian his first international wicket. * With agencies