2019 Cricket World Cup – Australia v West Indies: Restoking old rivalries

There’s something a touch different about this World Cup.


It’s all not going quite to plan. The English came in as heavy favourites on home soil with their number one world ranking in the one-day format yet have fallen to an inconsistent Pakistan. Scores were meant to top 400 in a lot of games. So far it has been a bowlers’ tournament with the odd mesmerising knock with the bat.


South Africa were meant to rediscover their touch and still lodge a firm challenge. They are winless and in all sorts.


West Indies were labelled a middle of the road team, with talent yet no strength to follow through. They have started off impressively, and something about this didn’t sit right with me before their clash against the Aussies.


The Windies won the toss and bowled first. An aggressive move to utilise their spiteful pace bowlers. Finch and Warner decide to fight fire with fire – the only way they know how. But it backfires after Finch cops a wonderful ball, and then Warner, Khawaja and Maxwell play dismal shots that have an air of panic to them. The West Indies’ fast bowling cartel is back and alive. We are 4-30 and this has shades of the New Zealand group clash from the 2015 World Cup in it. It’s hard to salvage a competitive total when behind the eight ball in the 50 over format.


Stoinis waltzes out, chest puffed out. Sauntering towards the crease, he looks as calm as can be. This is a big test for his batting. He’s with Smith, and both look to consolidate. Dots pile up but singles are steadily eeked out. Cottrell bowls some fiery left armers, Holder and Russell use their beanpole height to fire down bouncer after bouncer.


Stoinis takes his time and then comes to the conclusion that he needs to play his natural game. I wonder if he’s ever decided to do it any other way. Boundaries start to come, catapulting the Aussies back into the game. Just as it looks like we can get ahead of the game, Stoinis chips it to mid-wicket and wanders off in disappointment.


Throughout all of this, Smith is circumspect. Constantly nudging it around and running hard, he accumulates. It makes you realise how much we miss his fatherly hand, guiding us through an innings with a maturity we haven’t had for the past year. Carey provides a capable hand, finding gaps and then the rope. He should be batting higher.


When Carey falls for a solid contribution of 45, Coulter-Nile jogs out. Not as comfortable as Stoinis’ stroll out, he appears nervous. Yet when he faces up and begins to relax into his innings some incredible shots come. Smith is the master of 2s and 3s, while the West Australian stakes his claims as an all-rounder with some power hitting. Reminiscent of Agar’s 98 against England in 2013, Coulter-Nile shocks the cricketing community. Plenty of Aussies know he can bat, but not this well. When he starts flaying Cottrell and Russell around the ground with ease, we’re back in front of the game.


The onslaught continues. Smith begins to join him, mastering inventive shots that clear the covers or flipping it down to fine leg. He middles one such flick, as it flies towards the crowd. Sprinting around from fine leg, Cottrell sticks out a left hand and holds a ripper catch. Throwing it up so he can regain his balance to complete the catch, English and West Indies supporters join in going nuts. What a catch. Unfortunately, it’s to no avail as Coulter-Nile takes the reigns for a superb 92 off 60 balls that demoralises the Windies.


Their situation is worsened when Cummins snares an early wicket, before Starc appears to have Gayle out twice, only for the review system to favour him. Third time’s a charm when Starc’s searing pace blasts the ‘universe boss’ on the back leg. No DRS can save him this time.


Pooran comes in at number four and swings. With a lackadaisical manner, the Windies batsman plays some outrageous shots. Hope balances him out well through some concentrated batting, in a similar vein to Smith. A solid partnership is struck. The Windies are carefully working their way back into the contest. Could they dig themselves out of their hole?


The Aussies persevere. Zampa’s efforts are rewarded with the wicket of Pooran. Then a run out of Hetmyer puts the Aussies back on top. Holder comes in to steady the ship, working with Hope. Both pick up the pace and suddenly put the West Indies on top. They are favourites, only needing 100 runs to pick up a famous victory. Cummins stems the flow, removing Hope and his anchor role.


Russell has the chance to blast his side to victory. He struggles to get going – Starc comes back into the attack and removes him. Braithwaite comes in, ready to produce the magic that saw the Windies lift the T20 World Cup. Looking to accelerate the run rate, he never gets going. Starc snares another. Suddenly his bowling efforts are a replica of that 2015 encounter with the Kiwis. Holder is the Windies’ only hope, but Starc is in a rare vein of form. Closing out the innings, he then bowls Cottrell. They’re nine down, but the game’s over. A poor last over from Coulter-Nile lowers the final margin. The Aussies won’t mind – they’ve gotten themselves out of jail.


Australia – 288 (49 overs)

Coulter-Nile   92 (60 balls)                                                   Braithwaite 3/ 67 (10)

Smith 73 (103)                                                                      Russell 2/ 41 (8)

Cary   45 (55)                                                                        Cottrell 2/ 56 (9)


West Indies – 9/273 (50 overs)

Hope 68 (105)                                                                        Starc 5/ 46 (10)

Holder 51 (57)                                                                       Cummins 2/ 41 (10)

Pooran 40 (36)                                                                       Zampa 1/ 58 (10)



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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