Australia survived a top-order failure to bounce back spectacularly and beat West Indies by 15 runs at Trent Bridge on Thursday to record their second victory of the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Australia recovered from 79 for 5 to set West Indies a target of 289 after Steve Smith hit 73 while Nathan Coulter-Nile, at No.8, smashed 60-ball 92. The Australian fightback really started with a 68-run association between Smith and Alex Carey who got out for 45.
West Indies would have fancied their chances to chase down 289 given their batting line-up. But Evin Lewis fell to Pat Cummins in the second over of the innings while Chris Gayle used the DRS successfully twice before running out of luck. The umpire failed to notice a no-ball from Mitchell Starc and Gayle was given out LBW off the next ball. Had the umpire called the no-ball, the next delivery would have been a free hit!
Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran then added 68 for the 3rd wicket before Pooran was done in by Adam Zampa for 40. Shimron Hetmyer looked good in his composed 21 but his run out pushed West Indies further back.
Shai Hope was, however, batting solidly at the other end. He had only the all-rounders to bat with when West Indies skipper Jason Holder walked out with his team in a spot of bother at 149 for 4 in the 28th over. The two were involved in a steadying partnership but Hope became Pat Cummins' second victim of the day as Australia began to consolidate their position.
West Indies were still in the game for a while longer. When Carlos Brathwaite joined Holder at the crease, Windies needed 73 off 11.1 overs. Both men brought West Indies close with a 36-run stand but both men were removed by Mitchell Starc in the 46th over as Australia closed in on their 2nd win of the tournament.
Starc meanwhile picked his 6th five-wicket haul when he dismissed Sheldon Cottrell. He also became the fastest to 150 ODI wickets.
Earlier in the day, West Indies won the toss and decided to field. The Windies pacers were immediately in business. Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell and Andre Russell were fast and nasty - they took 2 wickets apiece while Carlos Brathwaite pocketed 3. Jason Holder took the 1 other wicket.
Australia have rarely endured such a poor start in a World Cup innings. Aaron Finch, David Warner, Usman Khawaja and Glenn Maxwell fell within the first 8 overs as the Aussies slipped to 38 for 4. Marcus Stoinis looked promising but he fell to Holder.
Steve Smith then took charge with Carey and the duo helped Australia wade past choppy waters. Smith was even booed when he raised his bat to celebrate a well-deserved fifty but he was unfazed. After Carey fell, Smith joined forces with Coulter-Nile who made the highest score by a No.8 in World Cups.
Smith was removed by Oshane Thomas for 73 in the 45th over but by then, Australia were on the cusp of a challenging score. The focus was now on Coulter-Nile to see whether he could get to his hundred. But he fell 8 short in search of quick runs for his team.
Australia will next take on India at The Oval on June 9 while West Indies play South Afica on June 10 in Southampton.
Courtesy: India Today