Australia managed to pinch a tight win over the West Indies in their latest Tri Series ODI clash with the hosts, with Glenn Maxwell living up to his ‘Big Show’ billing.
Australia’s exciting middle-order pairing of Maxwell and Mitch Marsh to banged the final nails in the coffin as the Australians chased down the Windies’ 8/282.
One of the Windies’ favourite sons, Marlon Samuels, scored a determined century that was was full of bravado and power.
Samuels’ 125 off 134 balls represented his 10th ODI hundred – and perhaps more significantly, his first against Australia in15 years and 52 innings.
He was aided by wicket-keeper Denesh Ramdin, who scored a solid 91 off 92 balls and showed his class by launching Mitchell Starc for two consecutive sixes in the 41st over.
Ramdin said in his post match interview that the West Indies’ batting performance was slightly under par.
“I think we were pretty average in the batting department,” Ramdin lamented.
“280 wasn’t enough on this pitch we probably should have gotten 50 more, it was a very good batting track.”
In the bowling stakes, the West Indies will be buoyed by the performance of Shannon Gabriel, who was clocked at over 150kmph and had Usman Khawaja caught behind.
The Windies have lacked firepower with the new ball over the last few years and Gabriel certainly provided a spark.
The struggling Sunil Narine went wicket-less again, Narine has struggled since his return to international cricket in April 2016.
The match was heated, with plenty of chatter between ricket’s bad boy Samuels and anyone who would look twice at him.
Marsh insisted in his post-match interview that both teams had a great relationship off the field.
“The West Indians are great people, when we come here they’re always very nice to us,” Marsh said.
“On the field, when you cross that line, it’s a battle.
“Sometimes we get a little bit heated but that’s cricket, as long as it stays on the field and we can be friends off the field then it’s great.”
Marsh played an integral role in the Australian run chase, sharing in a 122-run stand with skipper Steve Smith (78) and finishing with a composed 79 not out off 85. He said the plan was always to use as many overs as they could get away with.
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“We backed ourselves to get more runs at the back end of the innings, Smudge and I tried to take it as deep as we could and give guys like ‘Maxy’ a chance.”
Maxwell scored a breathtaking, unbeaten 46 off 26 balls, hitting five fours and two sixes, impressing his batting partner.
“An innings like that today, it makes you speechless,” said Marsh
“Obviously Maxy has had a lot of doubters out there, but an innings like today shows why he is such a pivotal part of this team and why he should be backed a bit more.”
This win has taken Australia to the finals of the tournament, where they will face the winner of Monday’s (AEST) South Africa-West Indies clash.