1st T20I: Bowlers, Finch, Wade guide Australia to 3-wicket win over West Indies

The pace quartet of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Cameron Green, as well as Aaron Finch’s (58 runs) and Matthew Wade’s (39 not out) significant contributions, helped Australia defeat the West Indies by three wickets in the opening T20I of the two-match series on Wednesday.

The home team successfully surpassed the 146-run goal with one ball remaining, thanks in large part to Captain Finch’s unexpected drop in the order.

Australia didn’t have easy sailing while pursuing a small aim. Within the first eight overs of the innings, they lost the wickets of David Warner, Green, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, and Tim David.

Warner went out of the game in the second over thanks to Cottrell. He also persuaded Marsh to lag one behind in the same over. The Australian camp’s concerns were subsequently soothed by Green and Finch hammering Jason Holder for two boundaries and a six.

However, Green was cleaned up by Joseph, who bowled rather quickly. By eliminating Maxwell and David, Yannic Cariah and Holder added their contributions as well.

Australia had found themselves in trouble at 58 for 5. Wade and Finch, though, supported the innings with a 69-run stand. Alzarri Joseph of the West Indies eventually dismissed Finch as the opener lofted one to the fielder positioned at long-on.

Australia only needed 19 more runs in 17 balls when Finch was bowled, but the pendulum kept swinging back and forth. In the 18th over, Joseph used a variety of lengths, including full and short pitches, and only allowed four runs. Odean Smith followed it up with a strong penultimate over that only cost the visitors four runs. By slamming the deck hard and putting it on the stumps, Odean Smith also castled Cummins.

Sheldon Cottrell’s final over was delivered to the West Indies, who had 10 runs to defend. The visitors might have even managed a remarkable victory, but Raymon Reifer botched an easy capture at deep cover, allowing Matthew Wade to escape, and Kyle Mayers flubbed another opportunity as Starc just escaped.

In the end, Starc scored twice off the sixth ball to help his team surpass West Indies’ total. Joseph was the best bowler on display for the tourists, taking 2 for 17 from his allotted four overs.

Prior to that, Kyle Mayers (39 off 36) helped the Windies get off to a fast start in spite of Josh Hazlewood (3-35) scoring twice during the powerplay. However, the towering Australian pace trio applied pressure as they hit a bail-high length with accuracy, while spinners Glenn Maxwell and Adam Zampa only managed to restrict scoring to 29 from a combined six overs.

The highlight of the West Indies innings was Mayers’ spectacular back-foot punch over cover for six off Cameron Green. However, the middle nine overs of the session passed by without a boundary.

A second setback occurred when Mitchell Starc (2-40) awarded the captain Nicholas Pooran lbw on review for hitting a ball with his bat but only after it had struck his boot, according to the television umpire. Ball-tracking revealed that it would have cannoned into leg-stump, which caught Starc off guard and enraged the captain of the Windies. Starc had returned to his bowling spot to complete his over to Pooran.

When Odean Smith was given a life in the penultimate over because the Hazlewood bouncer he had edged behind was determined to have been the Australian’s second delivery over shoulder height in the over and thus a no-ball, the review system was more in favour of the visitors. The Windies were able to achieve a respectable 145-9 in 20 overs thanks to Smith’s crucial cameo of 27 off 17 balls.

Brief Scores: West Indies 145/9 in 20 overs (Kyle Mayers 39; Josh Hazlewood 3/35) lost to Australia 146/7 in 19.5 overs (Aaron Finch 58, Matthew Wade 39 not out; Alzarri Joseph 2/17) by three wickets.

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