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Samuels 92 guides West Indies to four-wicket victory

Marlon Samuels knock came in 87 deliveries and included eight boundaries and four sixes.
Marlon Samuels knock came in 87 deliveries and included eight boundaries and four sixes.
©WICB Media/Randy Brooks of Brooks Latouche Photography

West Indies 266-6 (Samuels 92) beat
Australia 265-7 (Khawaja 98) by four wickets
Fifth One-Day International in St Kitts

Marlon Samuels played a responsible knock of 92 to help West Indies chase down 266 against Australia with four wickets in hand in the fifth match of the tri-series in St Kitts.

Earlier, the West Indies bowlers, led by Jason Holder, did exceedingly well to restrict Australia to 265, despite an excellent 98 from Usman Khawaja.

West Indies won the toss and elected to bowl first with an unchanged team while Australia replaced the injured David Warner and Mitchell Starc with Travis Head and Nathan Coulter-Nile respectively.

West Indies captain Holder (2-44) got rid of Aaron Finch (0) with the fourth ball of the innings after he nicked one to the slips.

Khawaja (98) scored the first boundary of the innings in the sixth over and by the end of the first powerplay, Australia were positioned at 40 for one. Khawaja, along with Steven Smith (74), brought up a 50-run stand in 68 deliveries despite mix-ups in the running between the wickets.

The acceleration began in the 14th over when Smith and Khawaja plundered 22 runs in two overs. Khawaja reached his fifty off 60 deliveries and soon the 100-run stand came in 132 deliveries.

The spinners bowled brilliantly keeping the Australian pair in check but soon Smith unleashed himself smashing two sixes in the 25th over bowled by Sulieman Benn (0-52). The second one brought his half-century as well.

Things were looking dicey for West Indies as the pair added 24 runs in the next two overs and by the 30-over mark, Australia were 157 for one.

It was West Indies' World T20 hero, Carlos Brathwaite (2-60), who broke the 170-run stand after having Smith caught off his own bowling in the 35th over.

The wicket of Smith slowed Australia's progress as Khawaja and George Bailey (55) added just 21 runs in the next six overs. After 40 overs, Australia reached 192 for two.

Khawaja fell two short of his maiden ODI century, when he was brilliantly run out by Jerome Taylor (0-31) in pursuit of a third run. It was Bailey’s 56-ball knock that helped Australia reach 265 for seven in 50 overs despite a brilliant display of death bowling by the West Indies.

Holder, Brathwaite and Kieron Pollard (2-32) picked up two wickets apiece for West Indies.

In the chase, Johnson Charles (48) and Andre Fletcher (27) gave West Indies a brisk start, bringing up the 50-run opening stand in just six overs.

The 74-run opening stand, which came up off just 59 deliveries, ended when James Faulkner (1-31) had Fletcher caught at backward point. Charles too departed three overs later, as he was trapped plumb in front by the leg-spinner Adam Zampa (2-60). West Indies were 86 for two in 14 overs.

Darren Bravo (39) upped the ante further as he launched into Zampa scoring a four and a six in the 16th over as West Indies reached 134 for two at the halfway mark.

Bravo, along with Samuels (92), scored regular boundaries during their 82-run stand to lay the platform for the power hitters down the order.

With West Indies needing 99 runs to win from 116 deliveries, Bravo departed after he was caught behind off Zampa but Samuels went on to complete his fifty with a boundary in the 32nd over.

Samuels added a vital 73-run stand for the fourth wicket with Denesh Ramdin (29) to leave West Indies needing 44 runs to win in the final 10 overs.

Samuels plundered Zampa for a hat-trick of sixes in the 41st over but was run out next delivery with West Indies needing 26 more to win.

Australia made a brief comeback in the 44th over, when Coulter-Nile (2-67) dismissed Ramdin and Jason Holder (0) in the space of three deliveries, but Pollard (16 not out) ensured West Indies reached the target in 45.4 overs with four wickets in hand.

Samuels was awarded the man of the match for his splendid knock. The win has taken West Indies to the second position in the table with eight points from three games.

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