West Indies v Australia
Tuesday 13 July, 00:30
TV: live on BT Sport
West Indies powered and squeezed their way to a 2-0 lead with bat and then ball in game two. And in doing so produced a characteristic and uncharacteristic performance respectively.
We all know about West Indies' power with the willow. In setting 196 they lived up to their reputation as a side who can hit fearsomely. Lendl Simmons got them off to a good start and then Shimron Hetmyer took over, his 61 from 36 earning the man of the match award. It was, however, interesting that Dwayne Bravo came in ahead of Andre Russell at No 5. Russell only got eight balls but hit two fours and two sixes. More than 200 should have been well within their grasp without muddled thinking.
With the ball they are working on their reputation as a dangerous unit. Hayden Walsh was again a threat and picked up three wickets while the returning Sheldon Cottrell showed a control which many wouldn't have recognised from IPL stints. Obed McCoy and Evin Lewis both sat out. Kieron Pollard was missing again. Pacer Oshane Thomas might come in for Fidel Edwards.
Possible XI Simmons, Fletcher, Gayle, Hetmyer, Pooran, Russell, Allen, Dwayne Bravo, McCoy, Walsh, Thomas.
Turner needs to play
Shall we just repeat the sentences from our game two preview but with different scoreboard detail for this mob? Okay then. At 101 for three Australia were in with a chance to level the series. But an old problem resurfaced as they fell short by 56 runs, not even getting within striking distance.
Again their lack of middle- and lower-order power and smarts cost them as they lost eight wickets for 39. 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.
We could continue with the repeat word for word. But we'll break off to put it a different way so that maybe someone will listen. Australia are trying to turn blasters like Josh Philippe and Ben McDermott into finishers when they don't need to. They have Ashton Turner who is a specialist in the role. He has to play.
Possible XI Finch, Wade, M Marsh, Philippe, Henriques, Turner, Christian, Agar, Starc, Hazlewood, Zampa.
West Indies muscled their way to the sort of score that, historically, one would have expected in St Lucia. In the last 14 games 160 or more has been busted eight times. The toss bias which was present, however, is being turned by Australia's batting woes.
We have to adapt our innings runs wagers to whoever bats first. If it's Australia we will play smart. Expect a fast start and then lay 170 or more. We expect their issue in the middle- and death-overs to continue into the T20 World Cup, Turner or not.
You can do that on the straight over/under innings runs line which will be hiked in line with scoring rate or you can look to pick very cheap, low-risk lays on the full innings runs market.
Hosts get bigger in-play
West Indies gave us a nice little win at sleight odds against early on Sunday. The market has finally woken up to their dominance (or Australia's fallibility). The hosts are 1.855/6 and Australia 2.1211/10.
There is plenty of room for those odds to flip. Australia have twice been short favourites in the chase and twice failed. Whenever they bat we expect the same so booking prices of West Indies at 2.1011/10 and 2.206/5 really should pay off handsomely when they are in the field.
Mitchell Marsh has won back-to-back top bats for Australia at No 3. He is probably their only success story. But this 'strength' is also a weakness. Marsh's decent run means the Aussies are less likely to bat Philippe or McDermott at No 3, where both would be more comfortable going hell for leather. Marsh is 11/4 jolly. Turner is 7/1. If this were the Big Bash he'd be 9s so that tells you something about this line-up.
Simmons has been cut to 16/5 for the Windies. Russell is out to 9/1, understandably considering he was delayed in getting to the crease.