David Warner struck a 56-ball 89 after fast bowler Josh Hazlewood’s four-wicket blitz to help Australia beat the West Indies by eight wickets in Abu Dhabi and put themselves in a commanding position to make the Twenty20 World Cup semi-finals.
Australia have eight points from five matches, level on points with an in-form England who play South Africa later in Sharjah. The Proteas, who have six points in Group I, face a daunting task to stay in the tournament.
Chasing 158 for victory, Australia rode home on Warner’s unbeaten knock, which included nine boundaries with four sixes, and Mitchell Marsh’s 53 to cruise home with 22 balls to spare.
Earlier, Australia paceman Pat Cummins struck a vital early blow by forcing Chris Gayle (15) to chop one on to his stumps in the third over after the 42-year-old Jamaican had struck two massive sixes.
Gayle walked off with his bat raised and a smile on his face, prompting fans to speculate online over whether this may have been his final innings. But the West Indies were not in a celebratory mood when Hazlewood took two wickets in three balls.
Nicholas Pooran departed offering a simple catch to Mitchell Marsh before Roston Chase had his stumps shattered to leave the outgoing champions in trouble at 35 for three inside four overs.
Leg-spinner Adam Zampa then picked up his 11th wicket of the Super 12 stage by removing Evin Lewis for 29 as the West Indies’ slide continued, but a steady effort by skipper Kieron Pollard (44) took them to a respectable 157 for seven.
Hazlewood also dismissed Shimron Hetmyer and the retiring Dwayne Bravo to finish with figures four for 39.