Australian pace spearhead Josh Hazlewood warmed up for his first ICC World T20 with a hat-trick but the West Indies middle order spoiled his feat with a fine comeback. Led by some lusty hitting by Carlos Brathwaite and captain Darren Sammy, West Indies launched a late comeback to beat Australia by three wickets with one ball to spare in the World T20 warm-up match here at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.
The two teams showed contrasting batting approaches. Batting first, Australia capitulated after an express start given by the openers Aaron Finch and Shane Watson while West Indies showed how to make the right finishing with Sammy and Brathwaite going after the Australian bowling. Australia scored 161 for nine with Aaron Finch 33 (24b, 6x4), Shane Watson 60 (39b, 4x4, 4x6) going great guns in the first eight overs. The two shared a 76-run opening wicket stand to raise hopes of a big total. Captain Steve Smith 36 (29b, 1x4) restricted himself to anchor the rest of the Australian innings as the remaining top and middle order departed without making any significant contribution. West Indies medium pacer Dwayne Bravo (4-0-21-4) and left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn (4-0-37-3) did some good job with the ball to restrict the Aussies.
Coming without the explosive Chris Gayle in the batting line-up, West Indies suffered early jolts with Hazlewood (4-0-13-3) removing Jason Holder, Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo in three successive deliveries in the fourth over of the innings. Needing to score 99 runs in the last nine overs, skipper Sammy found a good partner in Brathwaite as the two paired in a 53-run partnership (23 balls) for the seventh wicket to ensure a win for West Indies. Sammy remained unbeaten on 50 (28b, 6x4, 1x6) while Brathwaite’s 33 (14b, 3x4, 2x6) provided the impetus in West Indies’ successful run chase.
Brief scores: Australia 161 for nine in 20 overs (Aaron Finch 33, Shane Watson 60, Steve Smith 36; Dwayne Bravo four for 21, Sulieman Benn three for 37) lost to West Indies 162 for seven in 19.5 overs (Darren Sammy 50 n.o., Carlos Brathwaite 33; Josh Hazlewood three for 13) by three wickets