Ed Hawkins expects Australia to continue to struggle for quick runs in the final game of the series from St Lucia on Saturday
"Australia are reliable with the bat. They start fast. Then they lose their way"
West Indies v Australia
Saturday 17 July 00.30
TV: live on BT Sport
Windies lose way
West Indies will probably reckon they should be 4-0 up going into the final match after they surprisingly shanked a chase that they appeared to be in control of last time out.
Set 189 to win, the home team were sitting pretty after a rapid opening partnership from Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis, the latter falling in the fifth opver with the score on 52. Simmons would go on to whack 72 from 48.
Chris Gayle, Andre Fletcher and Nic Pooran, however, clogged up the innings and Fabian Allen launched a late assault to put them back on track. With 11 off eight required they were strong favourites. Riley Meredith removed Allen, though, and Australia were able to hold their never in no small p[art to Andre Russell turning down runs.
Dwayne Bravo, Obed McCoy and Shimron Hetmyer missed out last time. Their race may have been run. Kieron Pollard is a major doubt still with a hamstring injury.
Probable XI Simmons, Lewis, Gayle, Fletcher, Pooran, Russell, Allen, Hosein, Walsh, Cottrell, Thomas
Australia to revert to type
Australia's strong performance with the bat first up means they have solved their scoring issues, right? Wrong. Look at it this way: should a team which is 126 for one in the 12th be making more or less than 189?
We all know the answer. So Australia's chronic middle-order go-slow remains. And it's not going to be solved until perhaps players like Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis return and are given the freedom to be reckless. The last point is the key.
The Aussies are hugely reliant on a fast start. Finch did the business with a rapid fifty but the plaudits again go to Mitchell Marsh with 73. What's the betting when David Warner and Steve Smith are available Mitchell is shunted down from the No 3 position he has made his own?
Possible XI Wade, Finch, M Marsh, Carey, Henriques, Turner, Christian, Starc, Zampa, Meredith, Behrendorff
So far we have two scores of 141 and 145 and two of 189 and 196. That's some swing for the same venue. It's not as confusing as it looks, though. Barring game four Australia have been consistent with their middle-order getting in a muddle. We just need to get our timing right when to go unders.
Waiting until after the first six overs of powerplay is one option to short their innings runs line.
Another is to wait for the wickets of Finch or Marsh. Or you could take it to the death and go unders from the 16th over. Remember, no team scores more slowly in the death overs than Australia. It is quite an ask for them to be going at the expected 8.5-9 runs an over mark.
Hosts price to come up
West Indies are 1.804/5 and Australia 2.206/5. We think West Indies are a far superior outfit and expect them to end the series with a 4-1 success.
But we can get better odds. Australia are reliable with the bat. They start fast. Then they lose their way. Consistently throughout the series that has meant we have been able to lay them at skinny odds when at the crease.
At the very least we should expect the odds to flip so asking for 2.206/5 West Indies from the get go is a great starting point.
Marsh is enjoying a tremendous scoring sequence: 51, 54, 9, 75. He picked up the man of the match award last time, too. He is 11/4 with Sportsbook for a repeat top-bat and 8/1 for man of the match. Finch has been boosted to 10/3. Wade is 7/2.
For West Indies, Simmons has been boosted to 10/3 as well but we don't like to follow players for back-to-back wins. Lewis is 7/2 while Fletcher looks a little toppy at 7/1 for a No 4.
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Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. Includes Hawk-Eye column p-l