Almanac Cricket- West Indies v Australia T20 Series Review: Crunched in the Caribbean



Australia have long under-performed on the international Twenty20 stage, a trend that has continued, albeit missing several stars, in the just completed five match series against the West Indies. The final 4-1 scoreline almost flatters the Australians such was the dominance of the Windies, our depth is exposed in any format at the moment when players are missing.


In the lead up to a World Cup, results don’t necessarily matter as much as building a confident, in-form squad of players ready to peak at the big tournament. Sadly, only one Australian player can walk away from this series with an enhanced reputation. Some players put in a few good performances, a glimpse of what they can do. A few have played themselves out the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup.


After the moment Josh Hazlewood got two early wickets in game one to have the Aussies on top, it was a series dominated by the West Indies. Their team of full of specialist players well honed on the T20 circuit. An ageing team, the World Cup the final hurrah for many of them at international level. Only missing their regular T20 skipper Kieron Pollard, this is basically the team we can expect at the global tournament in October. The Windies had six players average 32 or more with the bat over the course of the series. Australia had one.


The one player for Australia to come out with increased stocks is the much maligned Mitchell Marsh. Entrusted with the number 3 batting position, he smashed 219 runs at 43.80, with a strike rate of 152.08. Add in he was our leading wicket taker with 8 wickets and a team best economy rate of 6.76 runs per over and you have a player who might have found his best role and best format for the national team.


What of the others? Hazlewood, Finch and Wade had their moments but were unable to deliver consistently. Henriques and Christian both looked the part without fully delivering. Christian is a great story, had success all around the globe in this format but at age 38 the international level may be a step too high. Wicketkeeping challengers Josh Phillipe and Alex Carey offered very little, Phillipe only played as a batsman and failed on every occasion, Carey should be the ideal middle order player for Australia in this format but wasn’t able to contribute. After 33 T20 internationals for Australia, Carey now has a batting average of 11.64. While his ODI record is outstanding and fully deserves to be our next Test keeper, his 33 T20I games are enough of a sample size to suggest he’s not the right man for this format. Having said that, it was mind boggling that for game five Carey played but as a batsman only not as keeper, the lesser gloveman Wade standing behind the stumps. Maybe a pointer for upcoming games?


In the spin department, Zampa bowled well and reasonably tightly, but didn’t regularly threaten to take wickets. Agar didn’t do much in his two games, Swepson punished in his only game. Hazlewood was the most impressive of the quicks, though three of his four wickets were taken in his exceptional 3/12 from 4 overs in game one. Starc was belted while only taking one wicket in four games, Meredith was a wicket taking threat but ultra expensive, Tye bowled ok in his one game and Behrendorff leaked runs every time he bowled.


Australia will be better come October. Warner, Smith (if fit, if not Labuschange will likely play), Maxwell and Cummins will add immensely to the team. Hard to see Stoinis getting back in with the performance of Marsh. Our big problem is the middle order batting. Most players tried there are stars in the Big Bash batting in the top three. The likes of Stoinis, Mitch Marsh, Matt Wade, Darcy Short and even Alex Carey get their BBL runs at the top of the order and haven’t delivered in the middle order on the T20 international stage.


As for the West Indies, Pollard will be a big in, and they will be dangerous at the World Cup. 41 year old Gayle played one great innings in the series but otherwise looked vulnerable against the quicks. They will have to play out of their skin to win it. But can’t be written off.


The Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, St Lucia, provided a lovely backdrop to a series played at quite a reasonable time for us to watch in Australia. The tour moves to three ODI’s at the historic Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados. Expect Australia to do better in a format more to our liking.



West Indies v Australia Twenty20 Series (All games at Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Gros Islet, St Lucia)


Game 1-
West Indies 6/145 (AD Russell 51, JR Hazlewood 3/12, MR Marsh 2/26) def.
Australia 127 (MR Marsh 51, MS Wade 33, OC McCoy 4/26, HR Walsh 3/23)


Game 2-
West Indies 4/196 (SO Hetmyer 61, DJ Bravo 47*, LMP Simmons 30) def.
Australia 140 (MR Marsh 54)


Game 3-
Australia 6/141 (MC Henriques 33, AJ Finch 30, HR Walsh 2/18) lost to
West Indies 4/142 (CH Gayle 67, N Pooran 32, RP Meredith 3/48)


Game 4-
Australia 6/189 (MR Marsh 75, AJ Finch 53, HR Walsh 3/27) def.
West Indies 6/185 (LMP Simmons 72, E Lewis 31, MR Marsh 3/24, A Zampa 2/20)


Game 5-
West Indies 8/199 (E Lewis 79, N Pooran 31, AJ Tye 3/37, MR Marsh 2/12, A Zampa 2/30) def.
Australia 9/183 (AJ Finch 34, MR Marsh 30, MS Wade 26, SS Cottrell 3/28, AD Russell 3/43)



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About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. Pretty poor series Luke. It’s an understatement to say Australia has underperformed at this level.

    I noticed during the week the ‘Head Honcho’ overseeing the B B L was quite clear the primary purpose of the B B L was to provide entertainment, not produce future international T20 players. I’m under no illusions about the role of sport in the entertainment industry; it equates to big $.

    To move beyond a philosophical discussion re current ‘sport’, let’s look at the Australian players. Mitch Marsh is inn his niche. A 20 over match gives him time to excel with bat and ball, whilst minimising risk of injury. I don’t see much future for Mitchell Starc @ any level of international cricket. He’s always been prone to leaking runs but when taking wickets you’d accept that; not now. Dan Christian has been a bloke always giving %150 but realistically how much can he offer in creating a winning team? The spinners? Adam Zampa, Ashton Agar, have both promised, both shown glimpses of form, then……….Behind the stumps Alex Carey has long been anointed in the various forms of the game, but ?

    Unsure where Australian T20 goes. Unsure about how Australia performs at any level this summer, an Ashes summer. The future is unwritten.


  2. Despite the players who were unavailable, this was an abysmal and inexcusable series performance from Australia. Absolutely had their pants pulled down, and then some(!).
    Note that even in the match Australia won, they almost let the Windies chase down 189.

    The selectors must take a large portion of the blame. I thought they were starting to get it right, but now are back to square one. In recent times, they had settled on two spinners, but Agar (T20 player of the year in 2020) was tossed out after Game 2. Note – every other team plays a minimum of two slow bowlers. Yes, Mitch Marsh was a success and good on him, but a new #3 bat was not exactly what we were looking for. I reckon Mitchell Starc is done. Time to move him on – in all formats. In fact, given Starc and Hazlewood do not play BBL, they should not be selected for the Australian T20 team. Dan Christian has been a warhorse, but is he the answer at international level? Andrew Tye? If I recall, he was spanked last year in the BBL after trying to increase his pace. The list goes on.

    You could tell the selectors had completely lost the plot when, for Game 5, they picked a team that had Tye batting at #7. There seems to be an obsession with picking totally unbalanced teams.

    As you pointed out, Maxwell was missed, but there is a gaping hole in the middle and lower middle order.

    The most laughable moment of the tour was when Zampa talked up his Test claims. He should actually concentrate on getting picked for NSW first.

    An excellent review, Crackers. Thanks for this.

  3. Kevin Densley says

    Assured analysis, Luke.

    Was it just me, or was the national level of interest in this T20 series featuring an undermanned Australia a bit on the lower-than-usual side?

  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Glen- yes very much noted the words from the BBL chief. Starc struggling in all three formats. We look a long way off winning the Twenty20 World Cup, but backing us in to win the home Ashes series.

    Smokie- the selections were baffling, none more so than game 5 with Tye at 7 and 3 keepers in the top 6. Zampa nowhere near a Test spot, Swepson will deservedly get first crack alongside Lyon and possibly Agar on the Test tours of the subcontinent next year.

    Kevin- level of interest probably about par for a white ball tour of the Caribbean during football season

  5. CITRUS BOB says

    Interesting reflections Luke. As mentioned some weeks ago “just a holiday for 20 cricketers plus the usual baggage”.
    KD the national interest was don simply because (a)we sent a second rate contingent. Players should be available for ALL tours (b) the major media outlets could not be bothered to send even one reporter on the Tour.
    Poor showing all-around as the rorts we got was via CA aficionados.
    Won’t be long now LR before we have the Afghanis on our shore and I hope to see you in Hobart for that game.

  6. Luke Reynolds says

    Spot on with your holiday line Citrus.

    Very keen to get to Hobart for the Afghani Test, hope to catch you there!

  7. Daryl Schramm says

    Thanks for the summary Luke. Didn’t watch any vision as I didn’t have access, but followed the scores closely. I’m not placing too much on this ‘experimental approach’ to team selection and performances for this series. What I do believe is that bona-fide middle/late order/over batting performers should be selected in those spots before a top order option in the middle order (Wells and Christian come to mind). The other option is to pick four or five top order batsman, and bat them, in the same order, but different batting spots rotating game by game, so they all get their chances to perform in any one of the top four or five spots. A sixth bowling option is also a necessity in my view.

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