After winning the ICC World Twenty20 2016in India, West Indies find themselves in another final. This time they face Australia at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown on Sunday in the triangular one-day international series. Out of the six games each, both teams had a topsy-turvy campaign, winning three matches apiece.
Until the last game against South Africa, West Indies’ chances of making it to the ultimate stage looked bleak. However, their all-round performance against South Africa ensured the hosts lock horns with the mighty Aussies to in the title clash.
Everything seemed to be going South Africa’s in the last league game against West Indies - a straight shootout to reach the final.
The Proteas won a crucial toss, denying West Indies a chance to chase in a knockout game, and reduced the home team to 21 for 4 inside five overhavs. But the home team fought back brilliantly thanks to Darren Bravo (102) and Kieron Pollard (62). The duo helped Windies post 285, and then their bowlers bowled their heart out to eject the South Africans for just 185.
West Indies’ road to the final in the series has belonged to their middle-order. From Pollard’s fiery cameo against South Africa to Bravo’s century against South Africa and Marlon Samuels 134-ball 125 against Australia to Denesh Ramdin’s valuable contribution of 91 in the same game, the middle-order stepped up at the time it was needed to ensure their team crossed the line.
As far as the bowling unit is concerned, the likes of Shannon Gabriel, Sunil Narine and Carlos Brathwaite have also impressed during the tournament.
How the West Indies batsmen negotiate Mitchell Starc could be the deciding factor. In the two games where Australia defeated West Indies, he picked up 2 for 37 and 3 for 51. With the talismanic David Warner being ruled out of the series with a broken finger, the left-arm fast bowler could be Australia’s biggest trump card.
The visitors have continued to showcase their batting talent in the form of Usman Khawaja, Aaron Finch, Steven Smith and the recent heroics by Glenn Maxwell, who led his team into the tri-series final. Australia’s bowling department seems settled as well.
Sunday’s final promises to be a fantastic game with ODI champions taking on the T20 kings.