Defending champion Australia registered their second successive win in this edition of the World Cup with an exciting 15-run win over former champion West Indies in a closely contested match in the 2019 ICC World Cup game played at a full house in Trent Bridge on Thursday. Exceptional performances by Australia’s all-rounder Nathan Coulter-Nile, fast bowler Mitchell Starc and Steve Smith helped Australia’s cause.
West Indies falter
West Indies had their chances of pulling out an upset win but faltered when it mattered most and let go the initiative with some sloppy catching in the field (dropping Smith & Nile early) and while batting some irresponsible shots by their well settled batsman spoilt the show.
Winning the toss and electing to bowl, West Indian fast bowlers impressed and bowled a tight line and used the short stuff well and made early inroads in the Australian batting line-up. Australia were struggling at 79 for five at one stage, with their top order batsman Warner (3), Finch (6), Khawaja (13), Maxwell (0) and Stoinis (19) back at the pavilion. West Indian fast bowlers Sheldon Cottrell (two for 56), Oshane Thomas (two for 63) and Andre Russell (two for 41) impressed by striking in intervals.
A fighting and responsible knock by Smith (72, 103b, 7×4) and an extraordinary innings by all-rounder Nile 92 (60b, 8×4, 4×6) took the match away from West Indies. These two batsman added 102-vital runs for the seventh wicket. Wicket-keeper batsman Alex Carey 45 (55b, 7×4) batted well and was involved in a vital 68-run partnership for sixth wicket with Smith.
Dropped catches added to the woes of the West Indian team as Nile was dropped when he was around 60 and he ended up getting another 30-odd runs. Australia’s tail wagged and they ended up scoring 288 in 49 overs. Carlos Brathwaite (three for 67) was the most successful bowler for West Indies.
There was something in the game, with some gritty and lusty hitting by the West Indian batsman. Their batsman after being settled played some irresponsible strokes and threw away their wickets which enabled Australia to bounce back into the game.
Chris Gayle (21), Shai Hope (68, 105b, 7×4), Nicolas Pooran 40 (36b, 3×4, 1×6), Shimron Hetmyer (21) and skipper Jason Holder (51, 57b, 7×4, 1×6) batted well but could not convert the same into a win and fell short of the target by 15-runs. West Indies were restricted to 273 for 9 in 50 overs. Mitchell Starc was the pick of the Australian bowlers and he claimed five for 46, while he was well supported by Pat Cummins who took two for 41. Nile was chosen as the Player of the Match.