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By Amlan Chakraborty
MIRPUR, Bangladesh, April 1 (Reuters) - Holders West Indies sailed into the World Twenty20 semi-finals after Dwayne Bravo’s power-hitting and Samuel Badree’s lethal spin bowling fashioned their comprehensive 84-run victory over 2009 champions Pakistan on Tuesday.
Darren Sammy’s men overcome a wobbly start to post a strong 166 for six before returning to bowl out Pakistan for 82 runs in 17.5 overs and set up a semi-final clash with Sri Lanka on Thursday.
India, who won the inaugural edition in 2007, take on South Africa in the second semi-final on Friday.
Opting to bat first in what was effectively a quarter-final contest, Bravo (46) and Sammy (42 not out) provided the late assault as West Indies plundered 59 runs in the last three overs at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
“We had nothing to lose, we were under pressure,” man-of-the-match Bravo told reporters of the stage when West Indies were 81 for five in the 14th over.
“I said to Sammy ‘Don’t worry about picking (Pakistani spinner Saeed) Ajmal or trying to rotate (strike) ... Keep your eyes on the ball. We are powerful enough. If we get close to the ball, we’ll hit it over the ropes’.”
Pakistan’s chase got off to a horror start with paceman Krishmar Santokie hitting Ahmed Shehzad’s toe with the first ball of the innings to trap the in-form batsman leg before.
Leg-spinner Badree (3-10) then took over, wrecking the rivals with a three-wicket burst and Pakistan could not recover after they had been reduced to 13 for four in the sixth over.
Badree’s spin colleague Sunil Narine (3-16) then ran through the top order to complete the rout.
The 19 runs Mohammad Hafeez scored was the highest individual score in the Pakistani collapse.
Earlier, Pakistan captain Hafeez drew first blood by removing Chris Gayle (five), arguably the most destructive batsman in 20-over cricket, to give his team a perfect start.
Hafeez lured Gayle out of the crease and beat his bat for Kamran Akmal to complete a simple stumping.
Lendl Simmons (31) and Marlon Samuels (20) somewhat arrested the slide with a 39-run stand before falling in quick succession.
Bravo then set alight the stadium with his sizzling power-hitting to revive West Indies before he ran himself out after a 26-ball blitz that included four sixes.
Sammy remained unbeaten after a breezy 20-ball knock as West Indies launched a spectacular late assault to amass 82 runs in the final five overs, exactly what Pakistan managed in their entire innings.
“Our aim was to get to at least 135-140 with the start we got but the self-belief we had, the form and power that we have, the momentum (being) with us, there was chance to be positive and get 160.”
Hafeez said Pakistan could not recover once West Indies broke loose in the final overs.
“We gave 70-71 runs in the last overs that took the game away from us,” said the Pakistan skipper.
“In the last four overs, even our best bowlers Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul did not get their basics right and conceded too many runs in the end... When our chase started, we did not get any momentum, playing shots which were not there.” (Editing by Pritha Sarkar)