The West Indies and Australia go head to head in the eighth match of the Tri-Nation Series in Bridgetown.
The first rain-affected game of the Tri-Nation Series couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time for South Africa and Australia. Only six Mitchell Starc deliveries were bowled before the game was abandoned following intermittent showers that left players and coaching staff to cut rather frustrated figures in the Bridgetown dressing rooms.
Australia will need to refocus now as they prepare to take on the West Indians at the same venue on Tuesday evening. The West Indies have blown frigidly cold and white hot so far this series. They will need a victory here to ensure that they remain in contention for a place in Sunday’s final.
West Indies vs Australia | Tuesday 21 June | Bridgetown, Barbados | 18:30
To Win Match
West Indies 2/1 | Tie 35/1 | Australia 4/10
The West Indies will be all too aware of the fact that if they win Tuesday’s One Day International, they’ll book their place in the final along with South Africa on the weekend. They’ll have it all to do against Justin Langer’s side, however.
The Islanders have been solid enough so far in the series, putting on two magnificent displays against each of the two visiting nations while also putting on two decidedly average performances against each.
They’ll be all too aware of the consequences of the match at Bridgetown this weekend. Failure to beat the Australians could leave them needing nothing less than a bonus point victory against the South Africans on Friday night in order to book their place in Sunday’s final.
There is definite quality in this West Indian side, even with the absence of their ‘best’ players. Marlon Samuels and Johnson Charles are deadly at the top of the order if they get settled while Kieron Pollard, Carlos Brathwaite and Darren Bravo are all more than capable of piling on the runs if a proper platform can be laid.
They have one of the planet’s premier spinners in Sunil Narine while the likes of Jason Holder and Sulieman Benn are able to put pressure on opposition batsmen. They will have to do without Jerome Taylor, however. The quick wasn’t selected for the last leg of the series after claiming only two wickets in the West Indies’ first four games.
A loss in their final group stage game will prove disastrous for the Australians who need nothing less than a win to ensure that they stand any chance of making it into the final on Sunday evening. The side will be still be smarting from the washout that meant they could only claim two log points from a game that they would have been desperate to win.
Only six balls were bowled before heavy rains brought the curtain down on the first game of the Bridgetown leg of the series. Those six balls summed up Australia’s performance perfectly well in the West Indies so far – three wides, a delicious half-volley and two glorious in-swinging deliveries that forced the batsmen to play.
The men from Down Under have lost that air of invincibility that saw them romp to yet another World Cup on home soil last year. Aaron Finch has failed to consistently fire, Steve Smith has battled to stamp his authority on opposition bowlers, Glenn Maxwell looks a shadow of the man that so regularly took apart bowling attacks in the latter stages of innings while the bowling lacks the sort of venom that the Australian cricket-loving public have become accustomed to seeing.
To make matters worse, they’ll have to do get the job done without their one out-and-out world class player, David Warner. The Aussie opener broke a finger earlier on in the series whilst out in the field and may not even be ready for Australia’s tour of Sri Lanka starting in July.
The Australians are going to need to dig deep against a West Indian side desperate to secure a place in the final on Sunday. One feels that the performances of Adam Zampa and Usman Khawaja could prove pivotal. The two have stood head and shoulders above the rest of their teammates on this tour so far.
Interestingly enough, Zampa was left out of the washout against South Africa with Scott Boland being called into the side. This points to the fact that the Bridgetown deck doesn’t offer as much assistance to the spinners as the ones in Basseterre and Guyana. This much was evident in South Africa’s team selection for the match with Morne Morkel coming into the side for Tabraiz Shamsi.
Verdict: Australia 4/10
I really like the look of the West Indian side. On paper, they should be competing with the best teams in the world on a more consistent basis. However, lack of discipline and concentration have cost them dearly in the past. They’ll do well to stay with the Aussies in the next match, although I don’t see it happening. Back Steve Smith and his boys to breeze past the islanders on Tuesday evening.
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.