T20 World Cup: Australia faces slippery West Indies in must-win game

Australia needs to defeat West Indies on Saturday to stand a good chance of qualifying for the T20 World Cup semifinals.

After the big win against Bangladesh, Australia’s bid to clinch its maiden T20 World Cup title is back on track.   -  AP

Its campaign back on track with a big win against Bangladesh, Australia will hope to avoid slipping up against West Indies here on Saturday.

After losing to arch-rival England last week, Australia bounced back with a record eight-wicket win over Bangladesh on Thursday. The margin of the defeat boosted its net run-rate to +1.031 (from -0.627). Still, a win may not be enough if the Proteas manage to beat England on Saturday by a margin that would lift its NRR past Australia’s.

If lucky, a loss against West Indies still could hand Australia a semifinal spot if England makes it five out of five, beating South Africa.

Lot at stake

So, there’s a lot at stake for both Australia and South Africa. Australia currently occupies the second spot in the points table.

Facing such an uncertain scenario, the Australians cannot afford to be complacent. Moreover, a bruised and battered West Indies would look to salvage some pride and bow out of the showpiece with a win.

Australia’s last semifinal appearance in the T20 World Cup was in 2012 when it was eliminated by eventual champion West Indies.

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The two-time defending champion West Indies failed to live up to its reputation in this T20 World Cup as it relied heavily on its ageing stars like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard. Australia, on the other hand, is beginning to peak at the right time in its bid to win its only missing title.

Its bowling attack came to the fore in its eight-wicket win over Bangladesh that came with 82 balls to spare - the biggest T20I win between two Full Member teams. While the pace duo of Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc gave the opening blows, leg spinner Adam Zampa polished off the tail en route to a career-best 5 for 19.

Even Glenn Maxwell (2-0-6-1) was tidy with his part-time off-spin and the team would only hope that he starts firing with his bat also. Its inconsistent top-order also got some boost with the return of Mitchell Marsh at No 3. Marsh blasted 16 not out off five balls, a innings that included a six off Taskin Ahmed, to seal the issue after skipper Finch laid the foundation with a 40.

The team would hope that David Warner and Maxwell get into the groove against the misfiring Windies as they may stick to an unchanged XI.

The teams (from)
  • Australia: Aaron Finch (c), Pat Cummins, Ashton Agar, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Swepson.
  • West Indies: Kieron Pollard (c), Nicholas Pooran, Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Roston Chase, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Jason Holder, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr.
  • Match starts at 3.30pm IST.

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