Australia reach Super Eights with Windies win

Australian cricketer Mike Hussey. Picture: AFP
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COLOMBO - Australia reached the Super Eights at the Twenty20 World Cup on Saturday as opening batsmen Shane Watson and David Warner hammered quick runs to help win a rain-hit game against West Indies by 17 runs in Group B.

Warner hit two sixes and three fours in a 28 run 14-ball innings while Watson struck an unbeaten 41 in 24 balls including three sixes and two fours to hand West Indies a cruel defeat.

Australia were 100 for one when rain stopped play after 9.1 overs, 17 runs higher than the Duckworth-Lewis target of 83 runs at that stage following West Indies's fine innings of 191-8.

Watson, who was dropped at 28 with the ball clearing the rope for a six after bouncing out of Dwayne Smith's hands, shared an unbeaten 70 partnership with Michael Hussey in 42 balls for the second wicket. Hussey was 28 not out in 19 balls.

Watson, who dropped Chris Gayle when he was on four, later dismissed the West Indies big hitter after scoring his eighth fifty in the shorter version of the game. Gayle scored 54 runs in 33 balls including four sixes.

"My dropping a catch off Chris Gayle certainly turned (the innings) in West Indies' favour and... I was lucky it was my turn when I was batting," Watson said.

"I certainly felt that pain until I got him out but in the meantime he had done the damage and got the momentum for West Indies. That was very disappointing."

West Indies' Marlon Samuels (50) also got a quick fifty including four sixes.

Watson (2-29) captured two wickets including Gayle and another big hitter, Kieron Pollard, while Mitchell Starc (3-35) got three wickets including two in two balls.

Australia qualified for the Super Eights having already beaten Ireland by seven wickets in tehir first round-robin game.

West Indies captain Darren Sammy said his side were still firmly in contention when rain stopped the play.

"We still fought, they still needed nine an over, they had to keep going. It was so unfortunate that the weather played a part, but that's something we don't have control over."

West Indies, among the pre-tournament favourites for the title, must win their last group game against Ireland on Monday to gurantee a place in the Super Eights.