West Indies vs Australia 2nd T20I Preview: After hara-kiri in series opener, Australia expected to be a bit more sensible
The inconsistency of the middle order of both sides is a point of concern.
Live Scores and Stats - West Indies vs Australia 2nd T20I
Panic sets in
Australia have landed in the West Indies without Pat Cummins, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Jhye Richardson, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson and Steven Smith. And, they sorely missed the experienced lot in their playing line up in the 1st T20I of the five-match series.
Australia were in complete control of the match for a large portion of the game, but towards the last one-fifth portion, West Indies tightened the screws and Australia panicked. They lost their last 6 wickets for just 19 runs to lose the 1st T20I by 18 runs.
Hayden Walsh Jr. showcases ability
Nicholas Pooran had to stand-in for Kieron Pollard after the permanent captain did not take the field due to a niggle. Perhaps, it was the hamstring injury which Pollard picked up in the last T20 against South Africa.
The team must have been delighted to have Fabian Allen, who injured his shoulder against South Africa, back to fitness. The addition of Hayden Walsh Jr. also made a big difference as the young leg spinner showed that he was capable of bigger things.
Holes in the Windies middle order
That said, the West Indies middle order remains a big weakness for the side. In the absence of the likes of Jason Holder and Kieron Pollard, there was a lack of stability in the West Indies middle order.
Evin Lewis had a rare failure and was dismissed for a duck. His opening partner Lendl Simmons made a run-a-ball 27. Chris Gayle took his own sweet time before being dismissed off Hazlewood, who was sensational with the ball.
Both Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran got starts but could not convert them into anything substantial. Had it not been for Andre Russell's 28-ball 51, West Indies might have managed just around 120. Dre Russ smashed 3 boundaries and 5 sixes, batting at a strike rate of over 180, to impart some respectability to the West Indies score.
Hazlewood reigns supreme
Josh Hazlewood was the pick of the Australian bowlers by a fair margin as he picked up three wickets while conceding just 12 runs from his four overs. This is when he conceded a six off the last delivery of his spell.
Mitchell Marsh also proved his utility with both bat and ball and picked up two wickets from his four overs while bowling at an economy rate of 6.50, to go along with his maiden T20I half-century.
Mitchell Starc had an off day and went at 10 RPO. Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar were expected to play a major role but failed to impress.
Oz collapse after Wade, Marsh heroics
In reply, Matthew Wade came out all guns blazing and smashed 33 in no time. Mitchell Marsh also got off the blocks quickly and before you knew it, Australia had crossed the 50-run mark within the first 5 overs.
The team had a required run rate of slightly over 4 RPO and all they needed was to close out the game. However, they had clearly had some chat in the dressing room and wanted to play an explosive brand of cricket.
Mitchell Marsh did well, making 51 off 31 balls, but once Josh Philippe was dismissed on the first ball of the sixth over, wickets kept falling at regular intervals.
Australia missing Smith, and some common sense
What would have Australia not given to have someone like Steve Smith or Marnus Labuschagne in their side to play the anchor. In the absence of experience, Australia kept going for it almost mindlessly and kept losing wickets regularly, ultimately falling short of the target by 18 runs.
Both teams are set to take the field with the same XI in the 2nd T20I. West Indies captain Kieron Pollard is unlikely to return with a gap of less than 24 hours between the two matches.
Australia have the potential to bounce back if they utilise their resources in a more sensible manner.
Here's a look at the probable playing XIs:
West Indies - Lendl Simmons, Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran (c & wk), Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Fabian Allen, Hayden Walsh, Obed McCoy, Fidel Edwards
Australia - Aaron Finch (c), Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Marsh, Josh Philippe, Moises Henriques, Ben McDermott, Daniel Christian, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
© Cricket World 2021