Mitchell Starc was relieved to claim the big wicket of Chris Gayle early in West Indies' chase as Australia pulled off a tense 15-run victory in the Cricket World Cup.
A fascinating battle between Starc and destructive left-hander Gayle delighted the Trent Bridge crowd on Thursday as Australia's premier strike bowler eventually got the better of his rival. Gayle twice used the review system to overturn on-field decisions when facing Starc — once when the ball had grazed off stump rather than the edge of his bat and again to reverse an lbw call.
REPORT | Close win for Australia
But Starc prospered in the end, trapping Gayle in front to send the 'Universe Boss' on his way for 21 from 17 balls before finishing with 5 for 46, passing 150 ODI wickets in the process. "I've had some good battles with Chris over the years, and he's obviously a major weapon for them, and we just saw a little glimpse of it today, how strong he can be when he strikes that ball," Starc told a media conference.
"He's so strong, and I guess he finds the gap hitting over the top. He's a huge weapon for them, and we knew that going into this contest that they're going to have a few really big strikers and lots of boundaries, which he's one of.
"We were very fortunate to get him early enough to put them on the back foot again with the new ball."
Australia was rocking at 38 for 4 as the Windies rattled their top order with a barrage of short-pitched bowling before Steve Smith's 73 and a blistering 92 off 60 from Nathan Coulter-Nile propelled them to 288 all out.
"It [short stuff] was pretty quick. I'm not sure I would have gone too well against it," Starc added. "It's something to learn from, as I said. It was fast, hostile bowling and something to learn from.
"The guys probably didn't play it the way they would have liked to, but we've come away with a great result, plenty to learn from with bat, ball and in the field, and credit to them, they bowled fast, aggressive stuff at us for a fair period of that, the opening couple of spells.
"Sometimes it's just hard to play against, and it's not fun to bat against, so I certainly don't like it, and I much prefer dishing it out."
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