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Injured Holder in doubt for must-win game

Jason Holder will be assessed over the coming days WICB Media

West Indies could be without captain Jason Holder for their must-win match against South Africa in Barbados on Friday after he injured his hamstring during the loss to Australia on Tuesday. Holder was able to bowl only two overs before he left the field, which forced West Indies to use occasional legspinner Andre Fletcher and stand-in captain Kieron Pollard to make up the rest of his overs.

Chasing 283 to secure a place in the tri-series final, the Australians reached their target with eight balls to spare thanks in part to a stunning cameo of 46 not out from 26 deliveries from Glenn Maxwell. Friday's match between West Indies and South Africa now becomes a straight elimination game, with the winner to take on Australia in the final on Sunday.

"I've strained my left hamstring," Holder said after the match. "Hopefully I'll be ready for the game on Friday, still not sure at the moment. I think the bowlers made a very good attempt at trying to defend the runs. It was just unfortunate we were one bowler short.

"Fletcher came on and slipped in three tight overs. In hindsight he probably could have gone on for two more. Having said that we fought right down to the end with a bowler short, so credit must go to the bowling unit."

West Indies were arguably a few runs short of par on a good batting pitch after being sent in by Steven Smith, although a 192-run stand between Denesh Ramdin and Marlon Samuels ensured a strong total after they slipped to be 31 for 3.

Samuels finished with 125, his first hundred against Australia in any format, and he was Man of the Match for the second consecutive game against Australia despite the losing cause. There was plenty of chat between the two sides over the course of the match and Samuels said he had been spurred on by Australia's words.

"I've been saying that over the years," Samuels said. "Most times I come out to bat and nobody has anything to say, I don't perform that well. But when somebody has something to say, I want to stay out there longer and see how long they can talk.

"I've got a hundred against everybody in the world now [full ICC members]. It's very satisfying. Nevertheless, we still have a game on Friday and that game is very important for us to win."

Coach Phil Simmons said he was proud to see his team - which is ranked at No. 8 in ODIs - competing well with higher-ranked opposition. Even if they did not win on Tuesday, he said, they gained a lot out of the game. "A loss is a loss but there are a lot of things we can take from it. When you're up against Australia and you're 30 for 3, to come back and make 280, you have to take that. Taking it to the second to last over, you have to take that, especially with our main bowler and captain missing. [And also] how well Shannon [Gabriel] bowled on his debut, to have someone in the 150s regularly, it's great to see.

"The work that the guys have put in over the past five or six weeks has been excellent. For us to be in a competition with No. 1 and No. 3 in the world, and still be in the competition and looking to be in the final in the last game, it's what we spoke about at the start of the tournament, that we need to make sure we are winning games against these top teams in order to be moving up the table."