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Gayle blows Australia away

WEST Indies' captain Chris Gayle smashed the Australian bowlers to all parts of the Oval on Saturday to lead his team to a 7-wicket victory in their opening Twenty20 World Cup Group C match.

Gayle struck 88 with six sixes and six fours from 50 deliveries as West Indies overhauled Australia's 169 for seven with 4.1 overs to spare.

Andre Fletcher proved an excellent foil, scoring 53 from 32 balls in an opening partnership of 133.

Gayle launched an audacious attack on Brett Lee, bowling in excess of 145 kms an hour, in the fifth over of the innings. He clubbed the Australian fast bowler over long-on into the street and struck another huge six over mid-wicket. Twenty-seven came from the over. Australia captain Ricky Ponting turned to David Hussey's gentle slow-medium and Gayle responded by lofting two more sixes into the crowd.

Jerome Taylor had set West Indies on the victory path by dismissing Shane Watson and Australia captain Ricky Ponting for ducks in the opening over of the match.

Australia, reduced to 15 for three after 3.3 overs, did well to reach its eventual total.

Diminutive left-handed opener David Warner anchored the innings with 63 from 53 balls and Brad Haddin (24), David Hussey (27) and Michael Hussey (28) made useful contributions down the order.

In Nottingham, India's Pragyan Ojha claimed four wickets on his Twenty20 international debut to bowl the defending champion to a 25-run win over Bangladesh in their Group A game.

The left-arm spinner, yet to play a test, took 4 for 21 from his four overs and ended an early victory charge from Bangladesh, which managed 155 for eight in reply to India's 180 for five at Trent Bridge.

Bangladesh was 74 for two after eight overs and managing a run rate of more than nine runs per over. Ojha then spoiled its chances of an upset, gradually steering India towards a comfortable victory.

"We are defending champion so when you get into the team there is a lot of responsibility on you to perform," Ojha said. "I'm glad I was able to do a job for my captain."

Ojha had Shakib Al Hasan caught from his first delivery after the batsman top-edged a drive to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Opener and top scorer Zunaid Siddique (41 from 22 balls) followed four deliveries later, caught at deep midwicket.

Opener Gautam Gambhir top scored for India with 50 from 46, but it was Yuvraj, who struck four sixes in total, that really took the game away from Bangladesh. Yuvraj scored 41 from 18 balls.


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