The West Indies missed out on a golden opportunity to beat Australia as they went down by fifteen runs to Justin Langer’s men at Trent Bridge. Here are our talking points from the game.
West Indies their own worst enemies
You’ve got 38 runs to chase from five overs with four wickets in hand and two reasonably well set batsmen at the crease. Mitch Starc has 2 overs in hand and the other 3 have to come from Nathan Coulter-Nile (who had been poor with the ball), and the fifth bowler, Marcus Stoinis. The idea would’ve been to play out Starc and focus on the other bowlers, but Carlos Braithwaite and Jason Holder, for some bizarre reason, attempted to target Starc in the 46th over. The left arm pacer won the battle comfortably, claiming both their wickets, and with that went West Indies’ hopes of claiming a famous win.
Braithwaite and Holder weren’t the only guilty ones- Andre Russel was equally culpable. Fresh from a stunning season with KKR in the IPL, Dre Russ launched into Adam Zampa as soon as he walked into the middle. At the other end Starc was ready for his eighth over- potentially his last in that spell, with the Windies requiring 79 off 12 overs. In what could only be termed as a severe lapse in judgement, Russell chose to go after Starc, and paid the price with his wicket, handing the initiative back to Australia.
Will the Windies ever get a better opportunity to beat Australia? Perhaps not.
Australia display their WC credentials
It’s the hallmark of a champion side to cross the line even when they’re not at their best, and Australia again displayed that in Nottingham. Staring down the barrel first at 38/4 and then 79/5, they managed to stage an incredible recovery to get to 288.
When the going gets tough, someone from the Australian side always raises their hand to do a job for their team, and on this occasion, it was bowler Nathan-Coulter Nile, who emerged the unlikely hero with a 62 ball 90. It was the highest ever World Cup score by a No.8 batsman.
This fixture at Trent Bridge marked the 5th time that Australia had gone on to win a World Cup game despite losing their first four batsmen with less than 50 on the board.
Poor umpiring in the West Indies innings
Chris Gayle was dismissed LBW (on umpire’s call) when the previous ball bowled by Mitch Starc was a HUGE no-ball that was not called. Between them, umpires Chris Gaffaney and Ruchira Palliyaguruge had four decisions overturned.
The Windies also didn’t help their cause with some ordinary fielding that saw both Steve Smith and Coulter-Nile receive reprieves in their respective innings.
Finch’s captaincy outstanding
He may have been dismissed cheaply with the bat, but Aaron Finch was a fantastic captain on the field. Marshalled his troops well and got his bowling changes spot on. Used Starc and Cummins very well- the duo were always able to get wickets for Australia just when it seemed the Windies had got their noses in front.
Not many captains would’ve tossed the ball to Starc in the 46th over when the pacer had only 2 left in his arsenal, with Stoinis and NCN having to bowl the remaining 3 and the Windies requiring only 38. Finch wasn’t everyone though, and like most of his decisions on the day, it paid off. Another example of his innovative captaincy was to place a fielder right behind Zampa, when Andre Russell was aiming to target the straight boundary.
Starc and Cummins remain match winners
Starc, often hitting speeds of 150+, accounted for Gayle, Russell, Braithwaite, Holder and Cottrell to finish with 5/46 in his ten.
Cummins got the early wicket of Ewin Lewis and then accounted for Shai Hope at a crucial stage of the chase. He also ran out Shimron Hetmeyer, which meant that Australia’s pace duo together effectively accounted for eight of the 10 Windies wickets. On a day when the rest of bowlers struggled, they stood up, and powered their team to victory.
If Starc and Cummins remain fit and firing for the rest of the tournament, few would bet against Australia reaching the finals, and perhaps even defending their crown.
Australia 288 all out beat West Indies (273/9) by 15 runs.