Cricket : WI suffer sweep ahead of World Cup campaign

Johnson Charles

BRISBANE, Australia (CMC):

West Indies were left searching for confidence ahead of their Twenty20 World Cup campaign after suffering another defeat to Australia, to lose their two-match series in a whitewash here yesterday.

Asked to chase 179 on a challenging wicket at the Gabba, the Caribbean side found partnerships hard to come by and were held to 147 for eight from their 20 overs, going down by 31 runs.

Opener Johnson Charles top-scored with 29 from 30 balls while Akeal Hosein struck a 19-ball 25 batting at number seven but West Indies never really challenged after finding themselves on 70 for three at the halfway mark.

They were set back by left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc who claimed four for 20 while pacer Pat Cummins captured two for 32, the World champions finding precious little difficulty in containing the visiting side’s hitters.

“Obviously it’s a tough loss. Well played to Australia and congratulations on a series win, as well, but they played better cricket than us today,” said West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran.

“I think the [179] was a gettable total. I think the bowlers did an extremely good job, especially pulling it back in the end there and giving us that momentum going into our innings.

“But the batsmen failed us today – in the middle overs there – after getting a good start. We obviously faltered and we paid the price in the end.”

Left-handed opener David Warner provided the foundation for Australia’s 178 for seven after they were sent in, punching a top score of 75 from 41 deliveries.

Tim David chipped in with a 20-ball 42 at number six as Australia gathered 55 runs from the last five overs.

West Indies started well when the outstanding Alzarri Joseph (three for 21) claimed the first of his three wickets by removing Cameron Green for one in the second over with 10 runs on the board.

However, Warner took control of the innings for the hosts, belting 10 fours and three sixes while adding 85 for the second wicket with captain Aaron Finch (15).

Both perished in the space of five balls in successive overs with one run added as Australia lost three wickets for five runs to slide to 100 for four in the 13th over.

David picked up the slack, however, thumping four fours and three sixes in a 56-run, fifth-wicket stand with Matthew Wade (15) to rally the innings at the back end.

In reply, Kyle Mayers drove a low return catch to Starc in the first over to depart for six, but Charles combined with Brandon King (23) to stabilize the innings in a 50-run second-wicket partnership.

Charles counted two fours and a six while King notched three fours and a six but neither really found their rhythm and were eventually part of a slide that saw West Indies lose four wickets for 36 runs.

Tottering on 92 for five in the 13th over, West Indies staged a recovery through a 30-run, six-wicket stand between Hosein and Rovman Powell (18), but the required run rate ballooned to 15 runs per over and the pressure told on the run chase.

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