Australian captain keeps his sense of humour about, says his plans for Chris Gayle fell flat because Gayle hardly faced any deliveries early on
Comprehensively outclassed by a West Indies team inspired by Chris Gayle in the semi-final of the ICC World Twenty20 2012 on Friday night, George Bailey said it was disappointing that Australia didn’t play at its best in the knockout stages, but added that Gayle had the power to sometimes make the opposition feel helpless.
“Chris Gayle can do that to you,” said Bailey after Australia crashed out of the tournament following a 74-run defeat. “I thought we bowled well early on but you just need to take wickets. Taking nothing away from the West Indies today, I thought the way Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo came out and batted, they took the pressure off Chris. He didn’t have to force his hand at all. He could bat at the absolute tempo he wanted. And when he did go, as he does, he went beautifully. We had our best bowling attack for the conditions tonight and just got outplayed. The best team absolutely won tonight.”
Bailey said there had been plans to get Gayle out, but none of them worked. “I just had a quick chat with Mitchell Starc there and early on, you try and get him out and that was our ploy,” said Bailey. “We started our last couple of games with left-arm spin, we opened our bowling with Watto (Shane Watson) a little bit but we went all out tonight with Starcy, who has been our best bowler, to try and get Chris Gayle out. Clever bugger, he just managed to not get on strike. We felt like we needed to get Chris out to give ourselves a great shot tonight. And as I said, the guys batting around him batted very, very well. The plan is to try and get him out. Then when he starts going, try and negate him as much as you can, try and make him hit to areas where he doesn’t want to hit. You can keep trying to get him out. His record speaks for itself, the key is to get him out early and put some pressure on their middle order.”
Asked how he thought Australia had fared in the tournament, Bailey replied, “It’s a hard one. I am sitting here feeling like we could have won the tournament. But I think once you get to the knockout stages, you got to be playing your best cricket. If we are sitting here in a really close game, then maybe, but I just feel like we have been outplayed by a better team tonight. In the past, we haven’t won this tournament. Australian cricket is very proud of what it has achieved and we haven’t won the Twenty20 tournament. All that you can in Twenty20 is to give yourself a chance to get to the knockout stages and then play your best cricket. We did the first bit but just got outplayed tonight.”
“Unless you win it, your last game is always going to be a disappointing one. It would have been nice to play our best cricket, that is probably the disappointing thing,” said Bailey. “To get to this stage of the tournament, to get to the backend, that’s when you want to be playing you best. And we didn’t. It hurts that in this game we didn’t play our best. But once again, taking nothing away from the West Indies, they played a very good game. They have played at their best, so anything that we are not at our best is accentuated.”
Bailey said Sri Lanka stood an outstanding chance of winning the final if it dismissed Gayle for less than 20. “If they can get Chris Gayle out for under 20 runs, I think they will win. If they don’t, I think the West Indies are too strong,” said Bailey. “Sri Lanka are a pretty well balanced side. It will be interesting to see. I think you can get 160 against the West Indies with their bowling attack. I am sitting on the fence a little bit there. I think the two best teams have got through to the final, I’ve got to give you that.”