West Indies seek to stay alive at home
Match FactsTuesday, May 11, Gros Islet
Start time 1700 (2100 GMT)
The Big PictureThree years ago an Australian team went through a World Cup in the Caribbean without losing a game. Michael Clarke's Twenty20 outfit has some way to go to match that feat, but four wins from four has provided an excellent start to the tournament. Australia's big victory over Sri Lanka has almost assured them of a place in the semi-finals, but they will be keen to keep their winning momentum going in their last Super Eights encounter against West Indies.
The hosts have been impressive as well, with a loss to Sri Lanka their only blemish. Unfortunately for them, victory over Australia won't guarantee their spot in the final four; if Sri Lanka also beat India, Chris Gayle's team could finish with four wins from five games and still fail to progress. Much will rest on the shoulders of Gayle, whose first major contribution for the series came with his 98 against India.
Australia's three fast bowlers have been striking fear into batsmen from all teams but Gayle is one man for whom the speed could be an advantage. The quicker Dirk Nannes, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson bowl, the faster the ball could fly off his bat. Just ask Brett Lee, who in last year's World Twenty20 was mauled so badly by Gayle at The Oval that the ball at one stage ended up on the roof of the Bedser Stand. It would take a massive defeat for Australia to miss out; on his best day, Gayle is one man capable of inflicting such a result.
Form guide (most recent first)Australia WWWWT
West Indies WLWWL
Watch out for...
While Gayle is West Indies' most important player, their hopes lift significantly when secondary men like Kieron Pollard step up. Pollard has had little impact with the bat in this tournament, with scores of 8, 0, 9 and 17, and his overall batting record in Twenty20 internationals is poor. For a man who has made his name in the shortest format with domestic teams all around the world, it's about time he did the same for West Indies.
Cameron White has long been regarded as one of the best Twenty20 players in the world, but since he has taken on the vice-captaincy under Michael Clarke he has taken his game to a new level for Australia. His wonderful 64 from 26 balls against New Zealand in February forced an eliminator over and his 85 against Sri Lanka on Sunday rescued Australia to keep their unbeaten run alive.
West Indies have altered their batting order at times during this tournament but Wavell Hinds seems now to be the preferred option ahead of Narsingh Deonarine and Andre Fletcher. Nikita Miller could come in to play on the slower St Lucia pitch, but it's hard to see which of the fast men would make way.
West Indies (probable) 1 Chris Gayle (capt), 2 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 3 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 4 Kieron Pollard, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 Wavell Hinds, 7 Darren Sammy, 8 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 9 Sulieman Benn, 10 Jerome Taylor, 11 Kemar Roach.
There were murmurs from Michael Clarke that Nathan Hauritz might enter calculations in St Lucia, but barring unforseen injuries it's very unlikely Australia will change their winning team. The pace attack has been a success, Smith is keeping Hauritz out, and the captain Clarke is the only one of the batsmen who has so far failed to have a major impact.
Australia (probable) 1 David Warner, 2 Shane Watson, 3 Michael Clarke (capt), 4 Brad Haddin (wk), 5 David Hussey, 6 Cameron White, 7 Michael Hussey, 8 Steven Smith, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Dirk Nannes, 11 Shaun Tait.
Pitch and conditions
The quicker pitch in Barbados now gets a rest until the final, and the teams must readjust to the slower surface in Gros Islet.
Stats and trivia
- West Indies have lost only one game this tournament but most of their batsmen are yet to play a big role. After Gayle's 98, the next best score by any of their players was Darren Sammy's 30 against Ireland
- By contrast, Australia's batsmen have made five half-centuries during their four games
- Dirk Nannes is leading the tournament wicket tally with 12 at 8.58 and an economy rate of 6.86; his new-ball partner Shaun Tait is equal fifth with eight victims
- The teams have met four times in Twenty20 internationals for two wins each
Quotes"This victory eased the pressure a bit but not enough to relax."
Chris Gayle after West Indies' win over India
"We need to make sure we're all fit and firing and be willing to adapt to completely different conditions on Tuesday."
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.