Lewis stars with the bat, WI fielders wrap up 4-1 series win

In what should prove a confidence-boosting performance for West Indies ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup, the victory sealed a 4-1 series win against their Super 12 group opponents.

Electing to bat, West Indies set Australia a target of 200 to win thanks to a 34-ball 79 from Lewis and held the tourists to 183/9, with an incredible Fabian Allen catch triggering Australia’s demise with the bat.

The hosts raced out of the blocks, scoring 40 runs in the first four overs before Adam Zampa (2/30) bowled Andre Fletcher for 12.

That was the leggie’s first delivery of the match, but his day quickly took an ugly turn as Chris Gayle collected 20 runs from the first five balls he faced, hitting Zampa for two fours and two sixes.

Lewis, who had already hit three sixes and a four by that stage, then hit two more sixes and two more fours in a single 21-run over from Jason Behrendorff (0/46).

Mitchell Swepson’s (1/41) introduction brought an end to Gayle’s innings on 21, but there was no stopping Lewis, who reached his half-century in 23 balls in the eighth over. He celebrated the fifty by hitting four consecutive sixes across two overs from Andrew Tye (3/37) and Swepson.

Needing to change something to stem the flow of runs, Aaron Finch turned to his most reliable performer in the series, and Mitchell Marsh (2/12) delivered by removing Lewis in the 11th over.

The opener departed having hit four fours and nine sixes to become the seventh batter to ever hit 100 T20I sixes.

Marsh struck again in the 15th over to dismiss Lendl Simmons (21) but the man Australia needed to remove was Nicholas Pooran, who had carried on where Lewis had left off.

The West Indies captain was sitting on 27 off 13 going into the final four overs, with West Indies 173/5 and eying a total well in excess of 200.

Instead, the Australians managed to stop the damage, with Pooran eventually out for 31 in the 18th and West Indies held to 199/8 from their 20 overs.

Despite the early loss of Josh Philippe (0) and Marsh (30), the Australians looked on course in the 10th over, with a 49-run stand between Finch (34) and Moises Henriques (21) taking them to 95/2.

Two wickets in the same over proved the game’s decisive moment. The first man out was Finch, caught incredibly by Allen for 34. Muscling a full toss from Hayden Walsh Jr (1/43) to long-on, Finch could only watch on as Allen ran at full tilt to his left, dived and held onto a ridiculous grab with his left hand.

Two balls later, Pooran produced another impressive effort in the field, sprinting from his position as keeper to short midwicket before throwing down the striker’s stumps with a direct hit to remove Henriques for 21.

The Australian innings failed to get going from there as regular wickets repeatedly stalled momentum, with Josh Hazlewood’s five-ball 13 not out required to bring the margin of defeat under 20 runs.

Having completed their five-match T20I series, the two teams will now turn their attention to the 50-over format, with the ODI series commencing on Tuesday.

(Story & Photos from ICC)

Gayle storm & Walsh Jr lead Windies to series victory against Aussies in 3rd CGI T20

A vintage Chris Gayle performance has blown away Australia and consigned them to a series-sealing defeat as the West Indies dominated their opponents in the third T20 International in St Lucia.

Gayle, months away from his 42nd birthday, emerged from a form slump to recapture his magnificent best in brutal onslaught featuring seven sixes that ensured the Windies snagged an unassailable 3-0 series lead at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground.

The Aussies made three changes to their side but their batters misfired for a third consecutive match as a suffocating bowling performance from the Windies, led once again by leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Jr. (2-18 off four overs), restricted them to 6-141.

Hayden Walsh Jr took 2-18 (4 Overs) to lead the West Indies bowling attack once again.

Recalled speedster Riley Meredith was expensive but otherwise made an encouraging return, bowling with venom and bouncing back from Gayle hitting him for back-to-back sixes (including the biggest of the night that went over the Johnson Charles stand) to dismiss the Windies No.3.

By that point Gayle had hit 67 off just 38 deliveries, allowing stand-in captain Nicholas Pooran (32no off 27) to win it with the Windies’ ninth six to seal a six-wicket win with 31 balls to spare.

Coming into Monday evening’s clash Gayle had averaged just 12.75 in nine innings since returning to the Windies T20 side earlier this year, but he delivered a statement innings to suggest he can still be a force at the highest level.

Stand in captain Nicholas Pooran celebrates victory with Andre Russell.

After crashing Josh Hazlewood for 19 runs in an electrifying start to the Windies innings, the veteran left-hander hit four sixes off Australia’s only spinner Adam Zampa, including three in a row to bring up a 33-ball half-century.

He became the first man to pass 14,000 T20 runs along the way and looks odd on to play in yet another T20 World Cup.

Only Mitchell Starc was able to curtail the Windies batters, taking 1-15 from his four overs after going wicketless in the first two games.

Hazlewood (0-33 off four), Zampa (0-34 off three) and Meredith were all expensive.

Australia shuffled their middle-order, bringing Alex Carey and Ashton Turner in for dropped Josh Philippe and the injured Ben McDermott, but it was largely the same story as the first two matches as the Windies delivered a clever bowling performance.

Aaron Finch, now with 40 runs in three innings at a strike-rate of 90.90 for the series, looked to be finding his groove but he was out to a match-turning catch by Fabian Allen in the deep.

Bravo fumbled the skied chance on the mid-wicket boundary but Allen had sprinted around from long-on to be front and centre to dive for the rebound off his teammate’s leg.

Top-scorer Moises Henriques (33 off 29) was the only Australian to hit a six, doing so twice, in an Aussie total he admitted was at least 20 runs short of par.

Series leading wicket-taker Allen continued his hold over the Aussies, with the leg-spinner taking 2-18 from four overs and was unlucky not to have a third victim when Pooran fluffed a stumping opportunity off Henriques.

Allen, the former USA player who was once a net bowler for the Aussies, now has eight wickets at 8.75 with an economy rate of 5.83.

After Finch won his third consecutive toss and, unlike Friday and Saturday’s games, elected to bat. Australia’s openers got off to their best start of the tour with Matthew Wade (23 off 14) finding the boundary four times including off Sheldon Cottrell’s first ball of the innings.

But from 0-41 in the fifth over, the familiar middle-overs struggles began as the in-form Mitch Marsh (9 off 12) and the recalled Alex Carey (13 off 9) both failed to make meaningful contributions.

A suffocating death bowling effort from the experienced Windies meant the 59-run stand between Moises Henriques (33 off 29) and Ashton Turner (24 off 22 in his first game of the series) came off a sluggish 44 balls.

Canny veteran Bravo (1-17 off three overs) delivered a terrific two-wicket final over that went for only four runs, wagging his finger at Turner and Dan Christian when he pulled off a last-ball run out following a pinpoint yorker.

(Story from cricket.com.au by Louis Cameron)

McCoy, Walsh Jr bowl WI to 18 run win over Aussies in opening CGI T20

An inexplicable Australian batting collapse has seen the West Indies draw first blood in the T20I series-opener with the hosts recoding a remarkable comeback victory following a jaw-dropping Andre Russell cameo.

Left-arm quick Obed McCoy’s somersaulting catch off his own bowling was the highlight in a stunning implosion of 7-38 from the visitors that handed the Windies an 18-run victory.

Russell (51 off 28) hit fives sixes including two out of the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in an incredible display of power-hitting that singlehandedly turned an otherwise lacklustre Windies batting effort into a competitive score of 6-145.

A career-best 51 off 31 from Mitch Marsh on the back of Matthew Wade’s quick-fire 33 off 14 (including three sixes) had the visitors flying at over 10 runs per over early in the chase.

WI skipper Nicholas Pooran celebrates the dismissal of his opposite number Aaron Finch (Photo: Getty Images)

But the loss of regular wickets left their tail with too much to do, with the new-look middle-order quartet of Josh Philippe (1), Moises Henriques (16 off 8), Ben McDermott (2 off 6) and Dan Christian (10 off 12) all failing to stay the course.

McCoy’s astonishing caught-and-bowled off Ashton Agar (1) all but sealed the Windies win, with leg-spinner Hayden Walsh (3-23) also instrumental in the comeback cheered vociferously under lights by the modest crowd allowed to attend.

Having been 3-70 at the end of the six-over Powerplay, the Australians lost their last six wickets for just 19 runs, including their last five in just 21 balls, to be bowled out for 127.

After his first over had cost 17, McCoy took the game-sealing wicket of Hazlewood to spark rapturous celebrations.

Armed with the knowledge seven of the last eight T20Is at this ground had been won by the team batting second, Australia smashed five sixes and lost three wickets inside the first six overs in an action-packed start to their innings.

After Aaron Finch was caught at cover for just four, Wade popped Russell over backward square twice in a 14-run first over for the allrounder before the Jamaican had the last laugh by having Wade caught on the deep-point boundary.

Henriques carted his first two balls for six off McCoy as Marsh continued the fireworks, but the Western Australian’s exit to Walsh to leave the score 6-117 was the first sign of the carnage to follow.

It was far cry from Australia’s earlier dominance after Finch elected to bowl first.

Josh Hazlewood exploited variable bounce in a terrific new-ball burst to claim the wickets of Evin Lewis (second-ball duck) and Chris Gayle as he conceded just three runs from his opening three overs.

Even conceding after a last-ball six from Dwayne Bravo, Hazlewood returned the equal sixth most economical four-over spell in T20Is by an Australian.

Dropped on five by Henriques, Russell made the Aussies pay by blasting five sixes in a breathtaking knock that was, surprisingly, just his first T20 International half-century.

His teammates offered little support as Lendl Simmons (27 off 28), Shimron Hetmyer (20 off 25) and Gayle (four off 10) all struggled against a tight bowling effort led by Hazlewood, Mitch Marsh (2-26 off four) and recalled veteran Dan Christian (0-10 off two overs).

Missing skipper Kieron Pollard due to a hamstring concern, the Windies’ woes were summed up by the stand-in captain Nicholas Pooran’s run out.

A strong lbw shout from Starc against Shimron Hetmyer caused confusion, with non-striker Pooran backing up too far and Josh Philippe swooping in with a direct hit.

The third umpire confirmed Pooran’s fate, but he had to wait while the lbw was considered given Finch had also signalled for a review.

Gayle’s lean run since returning to international cricket continued as Hazlewood worked him over, the Australian securing the wicket via a top-edged pull shot after the left-hander had scored from just one of his 10 deliveries.

The regular opener who is now batting at No.3 has 89 runs at 12.71 from eight T20I innings this year, and his strike-rate of 94.68 in that time is giving the Windies’ middle order a significant handicap.

(Story from cricket.com.au by Louis Cameron)