Bouncer, The Word-order Of Australia, The West Indies Look To Gain Momentum > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - Bouncer the buzzword as Australia, West Indies look to keep winning momentum
"Execution vs execution," is how Carlos Brathwaite put it. Aaron Finch was slightly more precise. "Good execution vs bad execution," he went. But as the two teams exited Trent Bridge on the eve of their highly-anticipated clash, a member of the West Indian camp cut to the chase insisting, "If they come looking for bouncers, they'll get bouncers." It summed up the bouncer-driven narrative that's surrounded the build-up for the West Indies' first World Cup clash against the Aussies in 12 years - they last met in Antigua back in 2007.
The game in Nottingham will also be the first time they've faced each other in nearly 3 years. It's a sign of how the once-intense rivalry between the two outfits has slumped into an almost mandatory 'only-if-we-have-to' affair. Perhaps the fact that the men from the Caribbean have only managed to beat Australia in 5 out of 32 ODIs over the last 15 years might have a bit to do with it.
All of a sudden though, with the West Indians having started their campaign off commandingly against Pakistan, there's an almost unrecognizable buzz around the match on Thursday. Not since the 1970s after all have Australia and West Indies talked about being at each other's throat, rather literally, and rarely in that period have they got tongues wagging across the cricket world about the potential of the two teams heading towards a head-hunting expedition with a cricket ball.
It had almost become the inevitable fare whenever the two most fearsome pace attacks went head to head, literally again, back in the era of Lillee, Thomson and Pascoe going up against Roberts, Holding and Croft. But the manner in which the likes of Oshane Thomas and Andre Russell bounced out the hapless Pakistanis at Trent Bridge last week has incited long-forgotten feelings between the two sides, so much so that the Australians spoke about wanting to bounce out the West Indians as soon as they got done doing the same to the Afghanistan in Bristol.
"Bouncers are a part of cricket. We've been hearing about bouncer this and bouncer that. But no one likes 145 kph coming at your head," Brathwaite had said on Tuesday. He was also prudent enough though to point out that their bowling plan against Pakistan hadn't been all about just banging the pitch halfway down the pitch. "As much as our bouncers against Pakistan were mentioned, our four bowlers used them quite well. Upfront Jason and Sheldon tried to swing it, and then Russell and myself tried to use the bouncer and it worked," Brathwaite explained.
When pressed to talk about whether he felt the Australians could handle a dose of what they were planning to dish out to Chris Gayle & Co, Brathwaite played it coyly with a smile saying, "I thought it's the Australians who are the masters of mental disintegration. But there's a saying in the Caribbean that people that can't swim don't drown."
The confident start made by the West Indians and the subsequent subtle battle of words between the two sides does add a tantalizing edge to a contest that on paper is basically the defending champions taking on a side who had to qualify to be here. And there's no surprise that it's being billed as the most must-see match-up so far in the tournament.
When: Australia vs West Indies, CWC19, June 6, 10:30 Local, 15:00 IST
Where: Trent Bridge, Nottingham
What to expect: The last time Australia played an ODI at Trent Bridge, they ended up being taken to the cleaners by England, who scored 481/6 before winning by a whopping 242 runs. Skipper Finch insisted that his team had tried to avoid talking about that misadventure and joked about at least having the luxury of occupying the home dressing room at the historic ground. But it's unlikely that the Aussies will feel too much at home against the rampaging West Indian batting line-up, especially with the short boundaries all around the odd-shaped ground. Just for the record, West Indies have only ever lost one ODI in Nottingham - back in 1984 - and have won 6 out of the 8 they have played here.
For all the talk about bouncers and chin music, the pitch for the match is the same that was used for the high-scoring England v Pakistan contest. And the signs already are that the wicket is a lot flatter than the one that Russell & Co bounced Pakistan out on, and also a lot drier according to those who got a good look at it. The two teams got a good first-hand account of the conditions too with their batsmen having to contend more with lack of bounce during their respective stints in the nets. Thursday is also expected to be a cloudy day, and it might end up being more about what the ball does in the air rather than what it does after being smashed on the pitch at high pace.
Australia had spoken about Nathan Lyon as an option when they come up against a team dominated by left-handers. And with the likes of Chris Gayle, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran in the top five, this might well be their chance to test their off-spin option. The small square boundaries and the West Indian left-hander's tendency to swing towards the on-side - except the more classical Bravo - should be a good enough reason to pick Lyon over Adam Zampa, who did concede 20 runs in an over to the left-handed Najibullah Zadran in Bristol. But Australia haven't been keen on tinkering with their bowling options of late especially when it comes to their spin department in ODIs.
Probable XI: David Warner, Aaron Finch (c), Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Glen Maxwell, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa/Nathan Lyon
There were some question marks about Gayle and Russell after the Pakistan game, but the duo was seen having lengthy stints in the nets on Wednesday. Russell was among the first out as his teammates went through their warm-up routines, and he then spent nearly half-hour striking balls. Gayle walked out announcing, "The Universe Boss has arrived" to the slew of photographers assembled under the dressing-room before padding up, putting on his headgear and occupying the nets for nearly 40 minutes. He then walked to the centre of the ground and went through some visualisation routines all by himself before walking over to the net on the far side for another hit. He then also was seen rolling his arm over for a few minutes, and considering he hasn't faced Australia in since his unceremonious exit from the Big Bash, beware Australia.
Probable XI: Chris Gayle, Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Andre Russell, Jason Holder (c), Carlos Brathwiate, Ashley Nurse, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas
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