Source: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday
After mixed fortunes in the preceding Test and One-day international (ODI) series versus Australia, West Indies will be looking to end their tour on a high when they face the Aussies in a three-match Twenty/20 international (T20I) series, starting with Friday’s first match at the Bellerive Oval.
The first ball in anger will be bowled at 4 am (TT time), and captain Rovman Powell and his West Indies team will be looking to reverse the comprehensive 3-0 series loss the visitors suffered in the ODIs. Guyanese fast bowler Shamar Joseph walked away with player-of-the-Series honours when he bowled West Indies to a historic eight-run win over the Aussies in the second and final Test at The Gabba, Brisbane last month to level the series at 1-1.
However, captain Shai Hope’s team did not have the same fortunes in the ODI format, as the 2023 International Cricket Council (ICC) 50-over World Cup champions blew the Windies out of the water. Even without the services of Mitchell Starc, captain Pat Cummins and star allrounder Glenn Maxwell, Australia were too strong for West Indies.
In the first ODI, Australia got an eight-wicket win after bowling out the visitors for a modest score of 231. The Caribbean team had Australia on the ropes at one point in the second ODI, but the hosts got to a respectable score of 258 for nine and then bundled over the Windies for just 175. In Monday’s third and final ODI at the Manuka Oval in Canberra, the Windies had a batting performance to forget as they were bowled out for 86 – their fifth-lowest score in the format. Australia then rubbed salt in West Indies’ wounds by racing to the target in 41 balls.
In his maiden ODI series, right-arm seamer Xavier Bartlett proved to be West Indies’ kryptonite, as he grabbed four wickets apiece in the first and third ODIs and claimed the Player-of-the-Series award as well. Bartlett has not been included in the Aussies’ 13-man T20I squad, but there is no shortage of experience in the squad, with Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa and Maxwell all in the fray. The hosts will be skippered by allrounder Mitchell Marsh.
For the Windies, they will feel bolstered by the return of several high-profile names as they look to build momentum toward this year’s T20 Cricket World Cup which will be jointly hosted by the Caribbean and the US. Powell aside, the West Indies welcome back players such as Akeal Hosein, former captain Jason Holder, two-time T20 World Cup winner Andre Russell and the hard-hitting Nicholas Pooran, who was named to ICC’s T20I Team of the Year for 2023.
The Windies were unable to qualify for the main draw of the 2022 T20 World Cup. However, Powell’s charges won their three T20I series in 2023 and closed off the year with an exciting 3-2 series win over their rivals England on home soil in December.
Australia just edge the head-to-head between the teams by a 10-9 margin, and they also managed a 2-0 series win over the Windies in October 2022 in the build up to the last T20 World Cup. The Windies will be looking for revenge for varying reasons when they hit the field in Bellerive.
WI: Rovman Powell (captain), Shai Hope (vice-captain), Johnson Charles, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Nicholas Pooran, Andre Russell, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Oshane Thomas.
Australia: Mitchell Marsh (captain), Sean Abbott, Jason Behrendorff, Tim David, Aaron Hardie, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.