Simmons savours match-winning knock


Lendl Simmons revelled in spoiling India's party by playing a match-winning innings to guide West Indies into the World Twenty20 final against England just two days after he boarded the plane from the Caribbean.

Simmons was ruled out of the tournament due to a back injury after initially being named in the squad, but got the call this week following an injury blow for Andre Fletcher.

The 31-year-old went straight into the side for Thursday's semi-final at a packed Wankhede Stadium - his home ground for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.

And Simmons made up for lost time, taking advantage of being caught off front-foot no-balls twice and also breathing a sigh of relief when Ravindra Jadeja stepped on the boundary rope trying to catch him in the deep to make a crucial 82 not out.

Andre Russell clubbed the winning runs off the final over from India star Virat Kohli, who made a magnificent unbeaten 89 from only 47 balls in vain, but it was Simmons who claimed the man of the match award.

Simmons came in with the Windies in trouble on 19-2 in reply to India's 192-2 and smashed five sixes and a further seven boundaries, with support from Johnson Charles (52) and Russell (43no from 20).

And the man of the moment said there was never going to be any danger of jet lag despite his late arrival as he prepares to face England at Eden Gardens.

Simmons said: "I slept the whole flight, I had got a call after the Afghanistan game and they asked if I was fit to play, I said yeah. I played for Mumbai, I enjoy this pitch.

"I think it was one of my better innings. I got the opportunity to prove myself to my fans. Playing on this pitch I know 180-190 was a par score, the guys said they were ten 10 short, I believed that.

"I got three chances, two no-balls and a six [when Jadeja stepped on the rope] went my way and I cashed in."