The West Indies and Australia will lock horns in the final of the Tri-Nation Series in Bridgetown on Sunday evening.
After a massive win over a hapless South Africa on Friday evening, the West Indies have managed to claim a place in the final of the Tri-Nation Series where they’ll take on the reigning World Champions, Australia in front a massive Bridgetown crowd.
Can the Windies claim the series on home soil or will Steve Smith and his charges spoilt the party in Barbados? Let’s take a look!
West Indies vs Australia | Sunday 26 June | Bridgetown, Barbados | 18:30
To Win Match
West Indies 7/4 | Tie 35/1 | Australia 5/10 *Expected Odds
The West Indies have just started to show a bit of consistency toward the back end of this series. Although they lost their last match against the Aussies by six wickets, they put in a solid showing, with Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin propelling their total to 282-8. Had it not been for a breath-taking return to form by Glenn Maxwell and a solid third-wicket partnership from Steve Smith and Mitchell Marsh, the result could have been much different.
They followed that performance up with an excellent 100-run win over the hapless South Africans on Friday. This time Darren Bravo was the hero for the Islanders as his 103-ball 102 ensured that the Windies would get close to that 300-run mark, placing the pressure firmly on the heads of the South Africans. The batting performance was followed up by some superb bowling from the likes of Jason Holder, Shannon Gabriel, Sunil Narine and Carlos Brathwaite who all returned economy rates of below four to the over, building pressure and taking wickets at crucial junctures in the game.
Having Jason Holder fit after his hamstring scare against Australia earlier in the week was massive news for the West Indies. The giant bowling all-rounder is a quality player and an even better leader. He takes charge of situations on the field while providing a calming influence on his players both on and off the field. He put in a staggeringly good display with the ball against South Africa while supposedly still struggling slightly with that hamstring issue.
Looking ahead, the West Indies will be quietly confident heading into the final. The Kensington Oval will be jam-packed with and the atmosphere will be electric! The Windies are a side that seem to perform well in emotionally charge situations, expect no different in Kensington tomorrow.
The reigning World Champions will feel that this is the sort game they really should be winning. They’re stronger in just about every single department and boast some of the best players in the world at the moment.
Even without the mercurial David Warner – who has returned home after breaking his finger earlier on in the series – they possess one of the strongest top and middle orders in world cricket. I don’t think any cricket fans need reminding of just how good the likes of Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith and George Bailey are when they get going.
They also have a confident Glenn Maxwell again. The Aussie middle-order blaster finally came good after a dreadful run of form with the national side and his IPL franchise, the Kings XI Punjab, that saw him only manage to score 19 runs in his last five limited overs games. Hi match-winning innings against the West Indies earlier on this week will do a world of good for his confidence heading into the final – keep an eye out for the Melbourne-native, he could prove pivotal in this final.
Last but not least, we need to take a quick look at the Aussie bowling attack. For so many years, their attack was feared around the world. The likes of Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee and Mitchell Starc struck fear in the hearts of the most seasoned international batsmen, their pace and control unmatched around the world. While Starc remains in the side, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Coulter-Nile simply don’t possess the same menace.
It’s not all doom and gloom for the Aussies though, they have unearthed an absolute gem of a leg-spinner in the form of Adam Zampa. The 24-year-old has managed to pick up 12 wickets in his first six One Day Internationals and looks as though he’ll become a fixture in the side moving forward. Although he is compared favourably to Shane Warne due to their similar actions, Zampa relies more on subtle variations and changes of pace as opposed to turning the ball sharply off the deck. He’s another one to keep an eye on if he cracks the nod in the final.
Verdict: West Indies 7/4* Expected Odds
They’re just such a good side in these emotionally-charged situations. While they’re lacking the overall quality of the Australian side, I just feel that their heart – along with the rapturous support at the Kensington Oval will see them across the line.
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.