another spectacular show to power the West Indies to a 74-run victory in the semifinal of the ICC World Twenty20.
West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle plays a shot during the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup's semi-final match vs Australia at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo. AFP Photo/Ishara S. Kodikara
For the first time, the 200-run mark was breached in the tournament as the West Indians, batting first, finished at 205 for four in 20 overs and set up a title clash with hosts Sri Lanka.
Apart from the bowlers, the challenge at the Premadasa track has been to overcome the slow nature of the track, but such was the Caribbean batsmen's brilliance that the conditions and quality of bowling were thrown out of the equation as they scored their runs at a rate of 10.25, smashing a mind-boggling 14 sixes during the course of the action-packed innings.
Gayle was the showstopper, carrying his bat through the innings to return unbeaten on 75, scored off 41 deliveries.
The match was as good as over when Shane Watson and David Warner were out for one and seven respectively.
Captain George Bailey hit a brave 29-ball 63 but it was only aimed at reducing the margin of humiliation.
Coming into the big game, the spotlight was on Gayle, for the wrong reasons, after the arrest of three British women, who were found socialising in his and some teammates' hotel rooms.
A man of few words, the knock was the stoic opener's way of saying: "What I do off the field is my life, on the field I am all for the West Indian cause."
If his antics had upset the Caribbean fans, he did enough in the semifinal to win them back. The left-hander launched a murderous assault on the Australia bowlers, carving out five fours and six sixes.
However, it was not just blind hitting. Head steady, eyes still and crouched on his knees, he waited for the ball like a panther.
Every move was calculated. The sixes and fours were interspersed with dabs and flicks to beat the short third man and square legs.
His patience was tested too as he had to spend long spells away from the strike. In 12 overs, Gayle had faced only 22 balls.
All goes wrong
It was a day when nothing went right for Australia. When they got the wicket of Johnson Charles, the score on 16 in 2.5 overs, there was no indication of the storm that was brewing. When it came, it hit them like a tsunami, rocking their boat from both ends.
Gayle was never short of support and formed key partnerships with Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard.
In fact, it was Samuels who set the tone with a 20-ball 26. Playing his first match of the tournament, David Hussey found himself in the firing line when Gayle went berserk in the 15th over, hitting two fours and a six for a total of 19 from the six balls.
For once, Pollard lived up to his billing of a big-hitter, scoring 38 off 15 balls. His 65-run partnership in 25 balls with Gayle took the wind out of the Aussie sails.