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Samuels special muscles West Indies home

Khawaja’s ODI best in vain as host cruises to four-wicket win over Australia and jumps to second place

Samuels special muscles West Indies home - Cricket News
Marlon Samuels struck eight fours and four sixes, in his 116-ball 92 as the West Indies successfully chased down Australia’s 265 for 7 for a four-wicket victory.
A typically flamboyant 92 from Marlon Samuels upstaged a career-best 98 from Usman Khawaja to set up the West Indies for its first victory over Australia in four years.

Samuels, later named the player of the match, struck eight fours and four sixes, three consecutively off Adam Zampa, the leg-spinner, in his 116-ball innings as the West Indies successfully chased down Australia’s 265 for 7 for a four-wicket victory in the fifth match of the tri-series under the lights in Basseterre. West Indies finished on 266 for 6 with 26 deliveries to spare.

Samuels, 35, built on an opening stand of 74 between Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher inside the first 10 overs to put the home team firmly on track for its first victory over Australia in eight One-Day Internationals before being run out by a direct hit from Matthew Wade, the wicketkeeper, at the bowler’s end from short square-leg with 26 needed off 56 balls.

Carlos Brathwaite formalised the result when he cut Nathan Coulter-Nile through square cover for a brace, earning the West Indies four points to move it into second position on eight – one behind the Aussies and three more than South Africa.

“We realised that we did not bat properly in the previous match against them and we were determined that we would bat much better this time, so we are happy with the way things turned out this time,” said Phil Simmons, West Indies’ head coach.

“Our batting came right and we knew this is where we have been lacking. It is good to know that we were able to beat Australia, the ODI world champions and No. 1 team in the world. It means we are moving in the right direction.”

Simmons added: “The pressure has been put on the top four batsmen to set up games for us. We know how destructive we can be at the end of an innings, so the top four has been asked to put their dancing shoes on to ensure that the bottom half of the batting can do what they do.

“Many times, it is better to bat in the evening at this venue, where the ball tends to come on to bat nicely. They got some reverse swing which helped them a bit, but it seems generally it is better to bat in the evening.”

The final match of this leg of the tournament between the host nation and South Africa takes place on Wednesday at the same venue.
In the afternoon, Khawaja narrowly missed out on a maiden ODI and led a trio of batsmen that collected half-centuries to prop up Australia’s batting.

Khawaja, the left-hand batsman, collected four fours and three sixes in his 123-ball innings, becoming the fifth Aussie to fall in the nervous 90s in an ODI.

Steve Smith, the skipper, made 74 and George Bailey, the former captain, added 55 after the visitor was surprisingly sent in to bat on a hard, true Warner Park pitch by Jason Holder.

Khawaja was prompted to open the batting after David Warner was ruled out of the remainder of the tournament with a fracture of the left index finger sustained in the previous match.

Khawaja, 29 and playing only his ninth ODI, batted resolutely and continued to find his feet in this form of the game on the international stage, sharing 170 for the second wicket with Smith.

The Australia captain batted with typical aplomb before he and Khawaja were dismissed in the space of 28 balls, eroding the Australians’ momentum before Bailey’s run-a-ball innings increased the tempo in the closing overs, but the visitor was well short of the target it had set for itself.

“I think we were probably 15 or 20 runs short with the bat, after we got ourselves into a pretty good position at the 30-over mark and had quite a few wickets in the shed, but we were not able to accelerate as we would have liked in the (closing stages),” said Smith.
“In the field, we started very poorly with the ball and they came out playing their shots. We were a fair way off our lines and lengths, and our fielding was pretty average.”

With the pitch playing at its best, Charles and Fletcher left Australia shell-shocked with the audacity of their strokes when the West Indies started the chase. All but 18 of their opening stand were in boundaries and this took the pressure off the rest of the batting.
Both were fortunate, however. Fletcher was four when he was dropped in the second over – from Coulter-Nile – low down at mid-off by Khawaja, who also dropped Charles on 36, misjudging a skier from a lofted on-drive off James Faulkner.

Relief from the onslaught came when Fletcher was caught at point off Faulkner for 27 in the 10th over before Charles was trapped lbw for 48 four overs later, the first from Zampa, to stem the flow of runs, bringing Samuels to the crease to take charge of the run chase.

The stylish Jamaican added 82 for the third wicket with Darren Bravo and dominated a fourth-wicket stand of 73 with Denesh Ramdin as the West Indies found the right mix between typically aggressive batting and smart running between the wickets.
Bravo was caught behind off the glove off Zampa for 39 in the 31st over before Samuels reached his 50 from 58 balls, when he steered Faulkner to third-man for his sixth boundary.

He then jammed down hard on the accelerator to keep the host on course for the victory, which came following the drama of Samuels, Ramdin and Holder falling for the addition of 14 in the space of 19 balls.

Earlier, Holder gained some early bounce and movement to have opener Aaron Finch caught at slip off the fourth delivery of the match.

Smith joined Khawaja and they continued to battle through the awkward bounce from the fresh pitch and Australia had to wait until the sixth over to get the first boundary of its innings when Khawaja cut a short, wide delivery from Jerome Taylor through cover.
The Australians finished the first Power Play on 40 for 1, but the runs started to flow as the sun beat down and the conditions eased, making batting far more comfortable. As a result, both batsmen prospered to reach 50.

Khawaja reached the landmark from 60 balls when he slapped Brathwaite to deep cover for a single in the 20th over, and Smith followed five overs later, when he swung Sulieman Benn, the beanpole left-arm spinner , over mid-wicket for his third six and the second of the over.

Just when it appeared as if Smith and Khawaja were about to get into the swing of things, Holder brought Brathwaite back for a third spell and he made the breakthrough when he held a return catch from a miscued slog-sweep from Smith in the 35th over.
Khawaja was looking impregnable until he was run out, failing to beat a throw from long-leg fielder Taylor to Fletcher, standing in as ‘keeper for Ramdin who had jarred his shoulder when diving in the field earlier in the innings.

Bailey did his part to try to ensure the flourishing finish to the innings. He swung a delivery from Kieron Pollard through backward square-leg for a single to reach his 50 from the same number of balls in the 48th over, but he was one of four wickets that fell for 20 inside the final five overs as the West Indies pulled things back down the stretch.

The West Indies was unchanged for the match, but Australia gave an ODI debut to Travis Head for Warner and brought Coulter-Nile in to replace the resting Mitchell Starc.
For full scorecard of the match, click here. 

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