Ed Hawkins previews game two from St Lucia early on Sunday as the hosts look to reinforce superiority...
"In-play that switch offers opportunity. The Aussies will be aggressive up front so there will be a chance to take improved prices on the West Indies either batting first or second"
West Indies v Australia
Sunday 11 July, 00:30
TV: live on BT Sport
West Indies, hurting after a 3-2 reverse by South Africa, got their confidence up in game one by squeezing Australia with skill and, crucially, spin. Concerns were beginning to mount whether their attack was varied enough to defend their World T20 title.
It's only one game, of course, but Hayden Walsh Junior's successful return to the side is a big tick. He took three for 23 as West Indies roared back to defended 145. Obed McCoy, using clever changes of pace, claimed the man of the match award, though. His four wickets ripped the heart out of Australia's chase.
Batting first, the hosts had struggled to get going on a stodgy-looking surface. At 65 for four they were in need of a rescue mission. Shimron Hetmyer got it started but Andre Russell finished it off, hitting 51 from 28 in typical style. Kieron Pollard missed the contest with a hamstring injury and looks set to sit out again.
Possible XI Simmons, Lewis, Gayle, Hetmyer, Pooran, Russell, Allen, Dwayne Bravo, McCoy, Walsh, Edwards.
Old problems return
At 108 for four Australia were on course to take a 1-0 lead in the series. But an old problem resurfaced as they fell short by 18 runs, not even getting within striking distance.
Again their lack of middle- and lower-order power and smarts cost them as they lost six wickets for 19. Throw in a fear of spin and it was a performance which cheered punters who like to stick to stereotypes. It goes down as a big black cross in their quest for a first World T20 title. Lord help them in the UAE.
Josh Hazlewood had earlier taken three for 12 and would have reckoned a match gong was heading his way. Mitchell Marsh (2-26) wasn't too shabby either. It was surprising, though, to see spin pair Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa so ineffective.
One of the reasons Australia slumped in the chase was a lack of finisher. They are trying to manufacture one from ben McDermott and Josh Philippe. Someone should tell them they have Ashton Turner on the sidelines.
Possible XI Finch, Wade, M Marsh, Philippe, Henriques, McDermott, Christian, Agar, Starc, Hazlewood, Zampa.
Previously in St Lucia, the wicket had been flat and good for batting. In the last 12 160 or more had been busted 12 times and eight of those had been won by the chaser. This was not the wicket we saw in game one.
It looks like a slow, low surface with grip for spinners. The hitters could find it hard to time their shots. Aussie Skipper Aaron Finch felt the wicket improved in the second-innings but it would be a surprise if we saw a runfest.
Getting short of the runs line could be a good start at around the 155 mark. Also booking in low-risk wagers on extreme low scores, say 130 and 120.
Hosts have edge
West Indies are 2.0421/20 and Australia 1.9520/21. It is a surprise that the market has not flipped in the wake of game one, when the Windies went off as 2.1211/10 outsiders.
With that in mind we rate the hosts as the wager. How can we come to any other conclusion? A slow wicket and grip for a spinner is Australia's nightmare. We expect them to consistently get in trouble outside of the powerplay as they have done across the white-ball formats for a number of years. They couldn't even chase four an over for goodness sake.
In-play that switch offers opportunity. The Aussies will be aggressive up front so there will be a chance to take improved prices on the West Indies either batting first or second. Both teams are likely to go hell for leather in the first six knowing that runscoring will be tougher.
No joy for the West Indies opening pair Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis. But the pair catch the eye at 3/1 and 16/5 respectively for top Windies bat with Sportsbook. We think there's a big advantage in using those first six overs for easy runs and 30-odd could be enough for a win.
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