It’s rare to see West Indies and Australia playing a bilateral T20 series. The two heavyweights haven’t clashed in a T20I game since March 2014. But the series couldn’t have come at a better time. It’ll be a great test of skills for both teams ahead of the T20 World Cup later this year. West Indies come into the series on the back of a series defeat to South Africa. Despite the loss, they shouldn’t be too concerned as every game was evenly fought and the series could have gone either way.
However, West Indies need to look at their strategy of playing bang-bang cricket. Yes, this is what they are famous for but you must be able to change your strategy as per the match situation. This was one of the key reasons that West Indies batsmen failed to deliver against South Africa. The likes of Chris Gayle, Nicolas Pooran, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons need to find a way to score runs, and with consistency.
While the batting was disappointing, the likes of Obed McCoy and Dwayne Bravo bowled exceptionally well. Andre Russell has been bowling regularly which is a big plus for the hosts. West Indies will see this series as an opportunity to find the right combination for the World Cup. They did the same against South Africa but didn’t work out. They might continue doing the same in this series as well. The issue for them is to find a proper bowling combination as the batting somewhat looks settled apart from the opening slot. Sheldon Cottrell and Kevin Sinclair could be the ones to accompany McCoy and Bravo in the first game.
Australia will be without the services of some of their regulars but the squad is not short on quality. With a World Cup spot up for grabs, every individual will be keen to deliver and make a case for himself for the showpiece event. With the likes of Aaron Finch, Josh Philippe, Matthew Wade, Ashton Turner at their disposal, Australia have compiled a strong batting order. Mitchell Marsh, Daniel Christian, and Ashton Agar should also find a place in the XI. The all-rounders are useful cricketers and add a lot of depth to the team. Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Riley Meredith and Adam Zampa complete a very strong team. There is not a lot to choose between the two teams but West Indies’ consistency is in question. If they play to their potential, we will be in for a riveting contest.
The surface should be a good cricketing wicket. There should be some pace for the bowlers to work with but the batsmen too shall enjoy the ball coming nicely onto the bat.
Match – West Indies vs Australia – 1st match
Venue – Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Gros Islet, St Lucia
Time – 05:00 AM IST (July 10), 07:30 PM local time (July 9)
Where to watch live – Fancode
West Indies Predicted XI
Lendl Simmons, Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran (WK), Kieron Pollard (C), Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Fabian Allen, Fidel Edwards, Obed McCoy
Australia Predicted XI
Aaron Finch (C), Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Marsh, Josh Philippe, Ben McDermott, Moises Henriques/Ashton Agar, Daniel Christian, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood/Jason Behrendorff, Riley Meredith, Adam Zampa