Short-term blast gives West Indies big lift
In 20.1 overs West Indies transformed from a team that lost the Test series 2-0 to an outfit that will ride a surge of confidence into the five-match one-day series beginning in St Vincent on Tuesday. The seven-wicket Twenty20 victory in a rain-reduced game had the Barbados supporters dancing in the stands and Dwayne Bravo, the temporary captain, was also excited.
"It's nice to come out on top, I must give credit to everyone, the guys played tremendous from the start," Bravo said after play. "We knew we'd be on and off the field and it was nice to know we gained our focus quickly, came out, bowled first and restricted them to a total that we knew our batsmen could get."
Australia scampered to 97 for 3 in 11 overs before the opener Xavier Marshall quickly stole the game with 36 from 15 balls in an innings that included three sixes. "Marshall and William Perkins got off to a very good start," Bravo said, "and the support from on and off the field was tremendous."
West Indies were without Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who will return for the one-day series. "It's going to be exciting," Bravo said. "Do not forget that we are playing against the No. 1 team in the world, but from the next game we're going to be at full strength."
Australia will also have some changes, although Ricky Ponting was pleased with two of his new players. Shaun Marsh (29 off 22) and Luke Ronchi (36 off 22) opened with a 57-run stand in six overs before the side fell short of their batting aim.
"Before the game started we thought 100 or 110 would be a reasonable total out there," Ponting said. "In the end that would have been a pretty good score.
"The guys at the top of the order looked good. Ronchi and Marsh got us off to a good start, so no complaints there. They're two very talented young guys."
Australia have a warm-up match against the University of West Indies Vice Chancellor's XI in Barbados on Saturday before heading to St Vincent. "Hopefully we get the one-day series off to a better start," Ponting said.