Tri-Series 2016, Final Review: Australia dump hosts to lift the trophy

Tri-Series 2016, Final Review: Australia dump hosts to lift the trophy

Steve Smith Australia
Australian cricket team captain Steven Smith poses with their winning trophy. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

After over 20 days of competitive cricket spread across 9 matches between the three participating teams – Australia, South Africa and West Indies, it was down to the one last game. It was the big final of the tri-series and the visiting Australians took on the hosts West Indies in what promised to be a thrilling encounter.

Australia were the first team to qualify for the finals, while the West Indies had to beat the South Africans in the deciding 9th match of the series. Coming into the game, it was the Australian skipper Steve Smith who won the toss the elected to bat first. A typical Australian approach in the big finale – put big runs on the board and get the opposition under the pressure.

However, things didn’t turn out to be too fruitful as opener Usman Khawaja had to depart early in the innings after scoring just 14 in the 5th over. It was the West Indies skipper Jason Holder who got the early breakthrough. Steve Smith joined Aaron Finch in the middle. Finch looked in a hard hitting mood as he smashed Shannon Gabriel to all parts of the park in the early overs. Meanwhile, Smith looked calm and tried to settle down at the other end. By the end of 10 overs, Australia had posted 55 runs on the board.

The kind of onslaught Finch began, he was certainly flirting with danger. His daredevilry came to an end in the 13th over when Kieron Pollard sent him packing on 47 that came off 41 balls (6 fours and 1 six). His departure saw George Bailey come in to bat. Both Bailey and Smith then took charge of the situation to have a firm grip on the proceedings. However, the partnership was broken as soon as the 50-run stand between the two came up. Carlos Brathwaite got through the defences of Bailey to dismiss him on 22 that came of 44.

In walked Mitch Marsh, who had a good run in the previous match. He lost the support of the skipper though, as Steve Smith could score only a 59-ball 46 on the big occasion and perished to Shannon Gabriel in the 31st over. In the same over, Gabriel got rid of the dangerman Glenn Maxwell to have Australia struggling at 156/5 in 31 overs. Meanwhile, Marsh batted well for his 45-ball 32 before succumbing to Suliemann Benn, who disturbed his wood work.

Also read – West Indies v Australia, Tri-Series final – 5 Talking Points

It was down to Mathew Wade to bat with the tail to see Australia post a decent total. The veteran campaigner did not disappoint as he batted with Starc (17), Coulter-Nile (15) to see Australia post a decent total of 270/9 by the end of their 50 overs. Wade’s unbeaten 57 off 52 balls was embellished with 3 maximums and 2 fours.

The target was surely not a very big one, but challenging nonetheless. Australian pacers were up for the defence and ensured the stay for the hosts wasn’t pleasant in the middle. Andre Fletcher struggled for his 9 runs and his stay lasted 25 balls before Josh Hazlewood dismissed him in the 11th over. However, the opening stand lasted for 49 runs. It was Johnson Charles, who did the bulk of the scoring. He was joined by Darren Bravo, but the stay for the latter was a short one. Mitch Marsh sent him packing for just 6. Marlon Samuels became the victim of the same bowler and perished for the same score.

It was Denesh Ramdin who arrived at the crease and continued to bat with the good form he has been in. He lost the support of Johnson Charles (45 off 61 balls) in the 21st over, as West Indies had lost 3 key wickets in the space of 4 overs. West Indies, at 72/4, were struggling. Pollard’s brief appearance at the crease gave some hopes, but the big man could score only 20 before falling to Adam Zampa. Skipper Jason Holder showed resistance as well, as he put on 43 runs for the 6th wicket with Ramdin.

Ramdin departed on 40 off 67 balls in his attempt to accelerate and the wickets of Brathwaite (14) and Narine (23) followed subsequently. No resistance from any of the middle order batsman saw West Indies lose wickets in plenty. Skipper Holder went back to the pavilion after scoring 34 off 37 balls. It was only a matter of time as West Indies bundled out for 212 in 45.4 overs and Australia won by 58 runs. It was Josh Hazlewood who bagged a five for and dismantled the opposition.

Brief Scores:

Australia – 270/9 in 50 overs (Wade 57*, Finch 47, Holder 2/51, Gabriel 2/58)

West Indies – 212/10 in 45.4 overs (Charles 45, Ramdin 40, Hazlewood 5/40, Marsh 3/32)