West Indies vs Australia 5th T20I Preview: Can Australia go beyond individual brilliance to end on a high?
Australia's middle order and support bowlers are yet to fire despite getting ample opportunities.
LIVE SCORES - West Indies vs Australia 5th T20I
Things could have been different for Australia
Australia finally opened their account in the five match T20I series, eking out a narrow four run win in the 4th T20I. While that would have given the visitors some confidence, a lot of work still needs to be done.
One can argue that the series should have been at 2-2 currently with all to play for in the final T20I. Australia had all but won the series opener but gifted it to West Indies in 15 minutes of senseless batting.
It's all about perspective, isn't it? Had those 15 minutes gone in favour of Australia, the entire setup of the series would have been different.
West Indies go too adventurous
Having taken an unassailable lead in the series, West Indies tried to over experiment with their XI in the last match and rested both Shimron Hetmyer (due to a slight niggle) and Dwayne Bravo. With Kieron Pollard, Fidel Edwards and Obed McCoy already injured, they clearly missed the presence of Bravo as they ultimately ended up one batter shot with Hayden Walsh Jr having to come out to partner Andre Russell towards the end.
With the ball as well, the team was struggling to find another bowling option and Bravo's presence in the XI could have taken care of both these problems.
Meanwhile, Australia brought in Jason Behrendorff in place of Josh Hazlewood for no particular fault of the latter. The management wanted to have a look at the left-arm pacer and Behrendorff did not disappoint
Oz top order fires
Australia batted first in the 4th T20I and after Matthew Wade was dismissed early, it was courtesy of a 100+ run partnership between Aaron Finch and Mitchell Marsh that took the visitors to a position of strength. Marsh struck his 3rd T20I half century in four innings, smashing 75 off 44 deliveries at a strike rate of over 170. Aaron Finch partnered him well with 53 off 37 balls.
However, it was Australia's soft underbelly which was exposed again as middle order batsmen Alex Carey, Moises Henriques and Ashton Turner added just 12 runs among them while consuming 16 deliveries and stalled the momentum.
Had it not been for Dan Christian's late blitz, Australia would not have set West Indies a target of 190, which was the need of the hour, given the explosive nature of the West Indies batting line-up.
Walsh tick, Thomas cross
Hayden Walsh Jr stood out once again for West Indies with three wickets while conceding 27 runs. West Indies really struggled to find an extra bowling option and had to go to Lendl Simmons who conceded 16 runs from his only over.
Oshane Thomas was very expensive in the powerplay and bowled two no balls, giving away 31 runs from just two overs. Akeal Hosein, who was also given an opportunity in this match, was expensive.
Almost pulled it off
West Indies then came out all guns blazing with Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis adding 62 for the first wicket. Simmons was particularly punishing of the Australian bowlers and smashed 72 of 48 balls. However, after the quick dismissals of Chris Gayle, Andre Fletcher and Nicholas Pooran, Australia pulled back the match in their favour.
They were in the box seat with West Indies needing 47 off the last 3 overs. But, a 25-run penultimate over by Riley Meredith saw Fabian Allen go berserk. It left West Indies with just 11 to get in the last over, with Andre Russell on strike.
Mitchell Starc showed his accuracy, bowling six pinpoint yorkers/low full-tosses as Russell could get only six off the over as Australia won the match by 4 runs.
Bravo set to return
The visitors are unlikely to make any changes to their playing XI.
West Indies should consider bringing in Dwayne Bravo in place of Oshane Thomas to provide balance to their side and replace Akeal Hosein with Kevin Sinclair.
Here's a look at the probable playing XIs:
West Indies - Lendl Simmons, Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Andre Fletcher, Nicholas Pooran (c & wk), Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Fabian Allen, Hayden Walsh, Dwayne Bravo, Kevin Sinclair, Sheldon Cottrell
Australia - Aaron Finch (c), Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey, Moises Henriques, Ashton Turner, Daniel Christian, Mitchell Starc, Riley Meredith, Adam Zampa, Jason Behrendorff
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