Windies match up to the Australians
-WI Captain Darren Sammy
An 8th ranked ODI team should be push-overs for the Australian cricket team, ranked 1st in ODIs, right? On paper, West Indies stood no chance against the mighty Aussies, having lost their last thirteen games against Australia. Or at least, that was what experts thought, before Australia’s tour of West Indies. West Indies proved them wrong with a performance that lifted more than a few eyebrows, taking the highly favored Aussies by surprise. A 2-2 conclusion seemed an unfair end to the series that Sammy and Co. fought so bravely for. Over the five games, West Indies, considered the underdogs, showed character as they measured up to Australia in all aspects of the game.
The series began just as it was expected to, with the Aussies clinching a comfortable 64-run win over the hosts despite their bowling unit having done a fair job restricting Australia to 204. But all their batsmen could manage in response was a meager 140. The West Indian middle order having made a mess of what should have been a victory, after Dwayne Bravo and Marlon Samuels laid a solid foundation for them to build upon. Towards the end, Darren Sammy’s efforts to pull something out of the game proved to be too little too late.
The second game looked likely to end on a similar note, with the hosts struggling at 74/4 while chasing the D/L adjusted target of 158 from 40 overs in the rain affected game. But late fireworks from Pollard and Dwayne Bravo ensured that West Indies grabbed a comfortable win over the Aussies, their first in almost six years, after a string of thirteen losses. The duo scored boundaries left, right and center, as West Indies reached the target with five wickets and eleven balls remaining.
As the series progressed, things only got better for the West Indies. In the third ODI, WI came back from 78/5 to come close to winning the game, only for the chance to be thrown away by a last over mix-up as a last over run-out resulted in a tie, in one of the most thrilling encounters between the two teams. Despite the result, the game offered several positives to the hosts who set up a fight to make a game out of it, after struggling at 78/5 due to a middle order collapse. It was a motivation for the team to come back better the next game.
And comeback they did, with a stunning 42 run victory as Kieron Pollard, at his brutal best, punished the Aussie bowlers, as he scored a 102 of 70 balls, to secure a win for the hosts with his power hitting. The comfortable victory over Australia took West Indies to the verge of winning their first ODI series over Australia since 1995. But the hope of a series win remained unfulfilled for the hosts with Australia managing to win the last ODI by 30 runs and succeed in levelling the series at 2-2, despite late heroics from Captain Darren Sammy. The series ending symmetrically, with West Indies’ results over the series reading: L W T W L
Sammy’s men may feel hard done by, as they came very close to clinching the series with laudable performances throughout the series. But despite the result, West Indies showed plenty of promise and with the Test series coming up, skipper Darren Sammy would hope this ODI series serves to motivate the players, as West Indies try to win a Test series against Australia, not having won one in over 20 years.