Three days ago, Johnson Charles scored his first international hundred but couldn't stop an Australian victory. This time, a brisk Charles half-century was enough to set West Indies on the way to their first win over Australia in Australia in any format f
Three days ago, Johnson Charles scored his first international hundred but couldn't stop an Australian victory. This time, a brisk Charles half-century was enough to set West Indies on the way to their first win over Australia in Australia in any format for 16 years, as they showed why they are the reigning Twenty20 world champions. Australia might have swept the ODIs 5-0, but West Indies will at least fly home on a happier note.
They had not beaten Australia in this country since the Perth Test in February 1997. The only man from that contest involved in this drought-breaking match was Paul Reiffel, then a fast bowler, now an umpire. It didn't worry West Indies that Australia fielded one of the least experienced sides they have employed in many years. In international cricket, a win is a win, and this win brought relief for a group of men who have been disappointed with their own efforts over the past two weeks.
Charles set up the victory but Kieron Pollard was Man of the Match, for his quick 26 with the bat and 3 for 30 with the ball. In an enormous chase of 192, the Australians relied on Adam Voges with a half-century and then held out slim hopes while Brad Haddin was at the crease, but when Pollard got rid of Haddin and the debutant Ben Rohrer, the last remaining specialist batsman, as well as the dangerous James Faulkner, it was all but over.
Australia then needed 51 from three overs with only the bowlers at the crease. Not surprisingly, they didn't get close, losing by 27 runs as Sunil Narine, Pollard and Tino Best proved difficult to get away. Narine collected 2 for 19 from his four overs and was the key man with the ball for West Indies. None of Australia's batsman seemed comfortable against him and he did not concede a boundary, while also having George Bailey caught sweeping for 15.
Things hadn't started well for Australia in their chase when Aaron Finch played on to Darren Sammy for 4. Shaun Marsh (19) and Voges then put on a 74-run stand that could have put Australia in a position to push for victory, but both men were run-out within four balls of each other, costing Australia valuable momentum. Voges, who made 51 from 33 balls, had looked especially threatening and carried on the form from his maiden international hundred on Sunday.
The same could be said of Charles, who justified Sammy's decision to bat first. With the exception of the impressive James Faulkner, an inexperienced Australia attack struggled to contain the world champions, who also had useful contributions from Darren Bravo, Pollard and Darren Sammy.
Early in the innings West Indies lost Chris Gayle, who was passed fit having missed the final two one-day internationals with a side injury. On 8, Gayle miscued a pull off the debutant Josh Hazlewood and was brilliantly caught by another man in his first international, Nathan Coulter-Nile, who ran back from mid-on and claimed the catch above his head despite having to twist and turn to keep the ball in his sights.
But it was Gayle's opening partner Charles who set the tone, turning the ball behind square regularly to keep the runs ticking over and swinging hard when he had the opportunity. Charles struck seven fours and one six, a whip over midwicket off Coulter-Nile, and he brought up his half-century from 31 balls before falling for 57 from 35 when he played on off a Coulter-Nile slower delivery.
However, the 88-run partnership between he and Darren Bravo had set West Indies up well. Bravo was less adventurous and scored 32 from 27 balls before he was the victim of a terrible mix-up with Kieron Pollard when both men ended up at the same end. Pollard managed two fours and one six but he wasn't able to hang around until the end, caught at long-on off Faulkner for 26.
Faulkner was comfortably the best of Australia's bowlers, collecting 3 for 28 from his four overs, and it was only a couple of monstrous sixes clubbed by Sammy in the 19th over that prevented Faulkner's figures being even better. He stopped Sammy (20 off seven balls) doing further damage by having him caught at deep midwicket, having started his wicket-taking earlier by bowling Dwayne Bravo for 13.
Andre Russell, who hit a late 23 from 11 balls, and Narsingh Deonarine (6 not out) pushed the total into extremely worrying territory for the Australians; only four times in 302 Twenty20 internationals ever played had the team batting second chased down more to win. And at the end of the night, it had still happened only four times.