After the completion of a ODI series that tottered one way, and then other, to finally settle on a draw, these two teams now face each other for two T20’s before a test series to wrap up the tour. After years of underachievement, are the Windies going be able to perform at the same level in the shortest format of the game? Let's see...
At the beginning of the ODI series, the West Indies looked as if they had no hope against the Australians. They hadn’t won an ODI series against them since 1995 and in recent years had looked like a bunch of amateurs. Although they still haven’t claimed the elusive series victory, they now look like a team that can build and grow in order to do that. The many positives that came from the ODI series for the West Indians are mirrored by negatives for the Aussies. They failed to close out matches that they should’ve won and conceded far too many runs against the West Indian tail-enders.
One thing that was always synonymous with Australian cricket was the ruthlessness by which they finished matches. They always possessed a killer instinct. However, now with a young and fairly inexperienced team, they may have to relearn these attributes if they wish to keep their spot at the top of the ODI rankings. A 2-2 draw was a fitting result from a hard-fought series but now the playing field has changed, the shortened version providing a platform for more West Indian fireworks.
|Calypso Cricket: The islanders have shown produced|
some moments of magic, can they keep it up though?
West Indies 13/10
Australia learnt some lessons in the ODI series, the same lessons that they were being taught in the Commonwealth Bank Series. Bowling in the later overs has become an issue in Australian cricket, perhaps due to inexperience, perhaps due to poor field placings and captaincy. Watson has been the stand-in captain for Clarke, and frankly, is just not as dynamic. Watson has been slightly too slow to react to the state of the game and take gambles, which he will no longer need to do now that George Bailey takes over the captaincy for the T20 series. The problem identified with Australia’s death bowling will need to rectify itself quickly, as a T20 is an all-out death bowling assault. Australia make no changes to their squad ahead of the T20 encounter, though it has been cut back by one from the ODI series, with Ben Hilfenhaus being the man to miss out. The Australians have struggled on the lower and slower pitches in the West Indies and may consider fighting fire with ice, by including both Doherty and Lyons to strangle the West Indian innings.
The Windies have found some well needed form from the ODI series and will be looking to continue their swashbuckling brand of calypso cricket ahead of the two T20 internationals. Although they succumbed in the last ODI and narrowly missed out on an historic series victory, they will feel more confident about their abilities to match the Aussies. Sure, there were some worries. The top-order batsmen have been run-shy and the West Indies have sometimes been guilty of leaving too much for their lower-order to do, especially when it comes to chasing totals. Overall though, they played with heart and determination, a quality that the West Indies lost a long time ago. The team is young and constantly improving, gaining experience at international level and beginning to rebuild. Powerful hitting in the later stages of their innings’ in the ODI’s bodes well for the T20’s, with Pollard, Russel and Sammy all in fearsome six-hitting form. The T20 squad sees a re-shuffling however, with Dwayne Smith and Fidel Edwards returning. Also included are Santokie, Mithurin and Bonner. These three have been performing at domestic level and may get their chance in the upcoming series. Barath, Bishoo, Best and Roach are the players to miss out. The West Indies will need to dig deep once again, if they are to trump the Australians in a format in which they lost 2-0 in the last series between these two, in Australia.
The Beausejour Cricket Ground in St Lucia will once again be the host to these two nations. It's one win apiece so far on this ground, with chasing seemingly the more difficult option. However, with the pitch basically staying the same throughout a T20, this may not factor in. Another low and slow creeper, tactical change of pace will be the order of the day. Showers are expected for the morning, but should not affect the days play.
BEST: Top Australian Batsman, David Warner 11/4
With a half-century in the last ODI, Warner looks as though he is finding some from with the bat as well as getting used to the slower wickets. With the Australian batsmen all very up-and-down at the moment, expect Warner to come through.
VERDICT: West Indies 13/10
Although the Australians have looked to acclimatise to the wickets, the West Indies have by far been the most explosive team with the bat as well as the tighter team with the ball in the later overs. Expect another upset here.
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Written by @IAMaverickWhite for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!