Australia v WI, World T20, Group 2, Mirpur March 27, 2014

Slow starters fight to stay afloat


Play 01:36
Cullinan: Concerns over Australia's bowling

Match facts

March 28, 2014, Mirpur Start time 1530 (0930GMT)

Big Picture

It's the defending champions versus the pre-tournament favourites and neither team has so far set the World T20 alight. West Indies began with a defeat at the hands of India, followed by an easy win over Bangladesh, but in a challenging group it is teams like Australia and Pakistan they will need to beat to progress. Australia started with a loss to Pakistan in a frenetic match that highlighted their problems with spin - both facing it and bowling it. That was always going to be their weakness in these conditions and West Indies will certainly have noted that Glenn Maxwell was the only batsman who really found an effective method against Pakistan's slow bowlers.

To that end, Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree will be key men for West Indies as they aim to restrict Australia. In the two most recent T20s between these teams, spin was an important weapon in setting West Indies on the path to victories. In the semi-final of the 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka, Narine took 2 for 17 and Badree picked up 2 for 27 as Australia struggled in a 200-plus chase. And last season at the Gabba, Narine's 2 for 19 again prevented Australia getting a move on in pursuit of 192 for victory. But the theme in both of those games was runs on the board - the West Indies spinners need backup from their batsmen, which did not come against India.

Only two teams from this group will advance to the semi-finals and India already have two wins and are yet to play Bangladesh, putting them in a very strong position. The likelihood is that West Indies, Australia and Pakistan will be vying for the second semi-final spot from this group. An Australian victory here would keep those three teams locked together on points. An Australian loss would leave them on the brink of exit.

Form guide

(completed matches, most recent first)

Australia LWWWW
West Indies WLLWW

Watch out for

Allrounder James Faulkner appears set to make his return from a knee injury that has kept him out of action since the end of the one-day series against England in January. Faulkner will add balance and aggression to this Australian outfit and West Indies have seen first-hand that he does not back down on the field. He was fined for giving Chris Gayle a send-off in an ODI in Canberra in 2012-13 and this week when asked about West Indies, he said: "I don't particularly like them". After a comment like that, the feeling might be mutual.

The No.2-ranked T20 international bowler in the world - behind his team-mate Narine - Samuel Badree is fresh from a four-wicket haul against Bangladesh and his legspin will again be important on the slowish surface in Mirpur. Badree has played the Australians only once in an international and on that occasion he took the new ball and got rid of both openers, David Warner and Shane Watson.

Team news

Doug Bollinger might be the man to make way for Faulkner, given the abundance of left-armers in the side. Cameron White is the only backup batsman in the group but it is difficult to see how he would squeeze in.

Australia (possible) 1 Aaron Finch, 2 David Warner, 3 Shane Watson, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 George Bailey (capt), 6 Brad Hodge, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 James Faulkner, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 11 Brad Hogg.

After their win over Bangladesh, West Indies may be inclined to go in with an unchanged line-up, however, there are some doubts on Gayle's fitness. Gayle appeared to have been hampered by a sore ankle against Bangladesh, but team management has been unwilling to reveal the exact nature of the injury. Darren Sammy downplayed its severity, however, suggesting Gayle will play.

West Indies (possible) 1 Dwayne Smith, 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Lendl Simmons, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Darren Sammy (capt), 7 Andre Russell, 8 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Samuel Badree, 11 Krishmar Santokie.


Spin has proven a key weapon so far at this venue and that is likely to be the same again, with not much pace expected in the wicket.

Stats and Trivia

  • Australia and West Indies have met 10 times for five wins each

  • Darren Sammy will become the first West Indies player to reach the milestone of 50 Twenty20 international appearances


    "They have a powerful batting line-up on paper… It's going to be about keeping calm under pressure. They're going to come hard at us."
    West Indies spinner Samuel Badree

    "A lot of guys have played Narine in the Big Bash and in the IPL. While having faced him quite a bit we are going to have our plans. He is still a quality bowler. He spins it both ways. Anyone who does that is going to present a challenge."
    Australia opener Aaron Finch

    Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

  • Comments have now been closed for this article

    • Sanju on March 28, 2014, 10:17 GMT

      Looks like the Aussies missed a trick or two today. Their loss to Paks obviously must be the reason behind their choice to bat first, but with position they are in now, they really need to bat out of their skins to put a score over 150 on the board. They have maxwell still at the crease and Hodge, Faulkner and Haddin to follow, but with the way WI are bowling, it looks like they may have to wind up without playing the entire 20 overs. But Aussies are always known for turning the tide. We now have an exciting match at our hands. Cheers!

    • Dummy on March 28, 2014, 9:34 GMT

      I think ausis will win the Mach it live their desire to win t 20 world cup

    • Dummy4 on March 28, 2014, 8:37 GMT

      I would suggest that Australia will have landslide victory in this match.

    • rob on March 28, 2014, 8:30 GMT

      Two teams scrambling like crazy to find their feet. I wouldn't like to predict the winner of this one but naturally I want Aus to win. The Windies are dangerous and we're taking our time acclimatising so it could go either way. .. I think Muirhead should get a run tonight. I love George, but it's time to give the kid a shot. .. No rain please. Let's see 40 overs.

    • Dummy4 on March 28, 2014, 8:00 GMT

      its almost a decider for the group. until unless BD does an upset later which is highly unlikely, there is nothing like neutral supporter every has his side, as a pakistani i would prefer Aus to win which will raise Pak's chances as india will be fav against Aus and even if it points are level with aus pak will advance to final 4 if they somehow can get a better NRR than WI. becoz even if pak loses to WI it would look like pak 4, wi 4, aus 4, and than comes head to head, pak up on oz, oz up on wi and wi up on pak, and there you go the NRR. so pak will get double chance to strike. now you can see it the other way, even if aus beats india and BD up next and gets on 6 and pak beat wi and bd, both pak oz on 6 and pak advances.

      but in the end its all theory and being a Pakistani made in favor of Pakistan, and if anything can happen than it can be 5 teams 10 matches and each can have 2 games under their belt.

      Good luck Australia!

    • Rakesh on March 28, 2014, 7:57 GMT

      Now when the pitches are offering assistance only to spin why there is no noise about Bangladesh having to have fast sport y pitches? Like it happesn when the matches are palyed in India? Considering it is a world cup.

    • Dummy on March 28, 2014, 7:48 GMT

      Real pity if Australia lose today. Because that will provide easy passages for less deserving teams. though I'm a Sri Lankan I must admit Sri Lanka made so many finals and New zealand so many semis thanks to such upsets in the past. Every time Aus and SA thrown out early in a tournament cricket is the real loser.

    • Sanju on March 28, 2014, 7:42 GMT

      Aussies are the most consistent team in this tournament and if Faulkner is playing, then they would overcome the only missing element that was evident in the previous match, a Finisher. And they will always be the favourites in every match. Gayle has to come out of his shell, if WI has to make an impact in today's game. Watson, Maxwell, Hodge and Haddin are good against spin, so it's only the batsmen who can put pressure on the Aussies. This is a do or die game for both teams, as the losing team will be virtually knocked out unless there is an upset by BD. WI Is the most unpredictable team here and on their day, they may just thrash the Aussies Or any team black and blue. Let's hope for a good contest today. Cheers!

    • KISH on March 28, 2014, 7:39 GMT

      I was a big supporter of West Indies in the tournament. However, they disappointed me in their match against India in such a way that I can't back them anymore. Also, Australia was just fantastic in their opening match against Pakistan. True, they lost the match. But, it was a fearsome hitting and I don't know if any other team can match that firepower in the batting. They missed Faulkner in that match and that was one main reason why I predicted a Pakistan win in that match as well. My prediction is an Australian win in this match, even if West Indies batting finally realize that it is not a test match. Australia look too strong and I think they will win all their remaining 3 games.

    • Dummy4 on March 28, 2014, 7:22 GMT

      Why there is no Smith in aus side ??

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