Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Australia's calm awaits West Indies' final storm. Will West Indies give a performance to remember in their last group match?
Will West Indies give a performance to remember in their last group match?
For starters, we haven't had an Australian cricketer, former or current, say anything to antagonise the West Indians. Unlike in 2014 courtesy James Faulkner's infamous comments about not liking the men from the Caribbean, no one in Aaron Finch's team has tried to rile up their final league opponents. There's also not been any war of words between an ex-player from Australia and someone from the West Indies team, ala Marlon Samuels v Shane Warne in 2016.
If anything, it's been the most sedate build-up we've seen for a West Indies v Australia match at the big stage. At least in keeping with the borderline animosity between the two sides when it comes to a T20 WC. And the lack of sniping is even more conspicuous considering the high stakes of the contest, at least from an Australian perspective.
Perhaps it's a sign of how the two teams have gone in this tournament so far. Australia have a chance of making it to the semifinals despite never looking anywhere close to their best. They've gone from very efficient to very substandard, and everywhere else in between, already in the UAE. Their humbling defeat to England was followed soon after with a proper thrashing of Bangladesh, where their bowlers ruled the roost. David Warner's form has been very symptomatic of the entire team's progress.
The West Indies, meanwhile, have had nothing to say so far, and understandably so based on their forgettable display as a team. The defending world champions have barely been a shadow of their mighty selves and find themselves prematurely eliminated. If anything, they have enough reasons to be upset with their own performances and get riled up to finish their campaign on a high.
There are of course a few incentives to do so too. There's the opportunity to bid farewell in style to Dwayne Bravo in what will be his final match in West Indian colours. Despite Chris Gayle's hint at wanting to play yet another T20 WC, the chances are that this could well be the final headline event for the most successful band in T20 WC history. Above all, there's also the consolation of taking down their arch-rivals, Australia, along with them.
Finch & Co, to their credit though, have managed to regain control of their own fate in the tournament. And unlike some of their predecessors, they seem fully focused on their job at hand against a team who've had their number in this the shortest format.
When: Australia v West Indies, Super 12 Group 1, November 6, 14:00 Local, 15:30 IST
Where: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
What to expect:Not quite the WACA from the late 1970s and mid 1980s but the pitches in Abu Dhabi over the last few matches have had some pace and bounce in them. It's almost an apt setting in that sense for an Australia v West Indies battle, based on their history. The Sheikh Zayed Stadium has bucked the tournament trend with the last three matches having seen the team batting first win. And it's something that'll suit both teams.
T20I Head-to-Head: Australia 6 – West Indies 10 (2-3 in T20 WCs)
Injury/Availability Concerns:It's unlikely that Australia will change their line-up after having gone back to their original plan for the big win over Bangladesh.
Tactics & Matchups: Australia will look to their world-class pace attack to exploit a short-on-confidence West Indies batting line-up and to utilise the pace and bounce expected to be on offer. The abundance of big-hitting left-handed talent is likely to sway them away from any thought of bringing Ashton Agar back into the mix. While the bowling is a lot like what they had during their 4-1 series loss in the Caribbean, the quick runs for David Warner and Finch are good signs that the batting is looking much stronger than it did back in July.
Probable XI: David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade (wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood
Injury/Availability Concerns: With nothing to lose, the West Indies could well decide to give some of their reserve players a go. Hayden Walsh Jr is a shoo-in based on his impressive outings against the Aussies on home soil. Oshane Thomas' speed and bounce could well get him his first appearance in the T20 WC.
Tactics & Matchups: With youngsters, Pooran and Hetmyer, having shown the way, you'd expect the high-profile megastars in the West Indian line-up to play with a lot of freedom in what could be the final hurrah for them as a collective. Expect some fireworks from the top-order and for the two-time champions to leave a lasting impression on an otherwise disappointing stint in the UAE.
Probable XI: Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Roston Chase, Shimron Hetmyer, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Jason Holder, Dwayne Bravo, Akeal Hosein/Hayden Walsh Jr, Ravi Rampaul/Oshane Thomas
Did You Know:
– West Indies have lost 6 of the 7 T20Is played in UAE
– In the five-match series between these two sides in July, Mitchell Marsh was Australia's leading run-getter (219 runs) as well as leading wicket-taker (8 wickets)
What They Said:
“It's for you as a player to know your strengths and know your weaknesses go out and execute as much as you possibly can and try to just remember the good things that you would have done and keep doing that. And Ricky [Ponting], he helped — it was something different. It wasn't something last year, I would say it was something that I was uncomfortable doing, finishing batting all the way down to the end. But I think after I really took it on board and just gave myself a chance, then is when I really reaped the rewards of it going out and expressing myself.” – Shimron Hetmyer
“Behind the scenes we made a conscious effort not to talk about net run rate and things like that. You've obviously got to put yourself in a position to win the game before you can worry about anything else. We've just got to play our best game again, three games to go, hopefully, to win a tournament.” – Aaron Finch