West Indies beat South Africa by 100 runs in the last group game to qualify for the final © AFP
West Indies beat South Africa by 100 runs in the last group game to qualify for the final © AFP

The finale of the tri-series is here. After 23 days of gruelling action, West Indies and Australia are set to clash at Barbados. The hosts will be aiming to continue on their impressive over past few months, during which they won the ICC T20 World Cup 2016. Before the start of the series, the hosts mostly tipped Australia and South Africa to qualify for the final, with very few giving West Indies a chance considering their poor run in ODIs. And till the very last group game, it seemed the predictions were coming true. But it wasn’t to be, as the hosts produced a perfect display to dismantle their opponents by 100 runs, and setting up a showdown with Australia. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: West Indies vs Australia, Final, Tri-nation series 2016 at Barbados

West Indies’ success has not been through individual performances. Most of their batsmen played their part with the bat, and all the bowlers chipped in with the ball. Ahead of the game which can have significant impacts in the near future, here is a look at the XI which the hosts may come up with.

Top Order: In the absence of Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles has stepped up to the task with some decent outings. While he hasn’t been sensational, he has gone along quite well with 154 runs in six innings. His partner though, has been all out of sorts, and would be feeling lucky to get his chances. With just 80 runs in six innings, Andre Fletcher has been ordinary in this tournament. One wonders, the final may be the game where he steps up.

At No.3, West Indies would feel lucky to have a player whose technique is likened to that of legendary Brian Lara. Darren Bravo is not one of those who is considered a star player, or game changer. But the great thing about him has been is consistency. With 216 runs in the series including a match winning 102 against South Africa in the last game, confidence is on his side.

Middle Order: With great power comes great responsibility. This is an statement taken too seriously by Marlon Samuels, who has been by far the best batsman in this series. Knowing he is the most experienced batter in the unit, he has done exceptionally well to show other batsmen the way. After him comes Denesh Ramdin, who has done what is asked of him. Not too flashy, Ramdin gets the job done. A total of 157 runs in six innings is more than handy for a wicketkeeper.

At No.6, Kieron Pollard is one of the players who is enjoying a renaissance. Leaving all the controversy of his selection behind him, Pollard has managed to make his mark with both bat and ball. An impactful player who can change the game with his presence, is going to be the key in the final. After him comes the biggest hard-hitter — Carlos Brathwaite. Barthwaite came to the scene with his blistering knock in the T20 World Cup 2016 final. He further enhanced his reputation with the bat in the IPL 2016. But in this tri-series, he has let his ball do the talking, scalping eight wickets.

Lower Order: It is a handy thing to have all rounders. But it’s a luxury to have your premium pace bowler as an all rounder. Jason Holder in this series has assumed three responsibilities, and has done particularly well in all of them. After him comes the biggest asset of the squad, Sunil Narine. After going through a change in action, Narine was rusty in the IPL 2016. But come the tri-series, he has been exceptional. His haul of 11 wickets includes a 6-for against South Africa in the very first match.

To complete the bowling unit are Suleiman Benn and Shannon Gabriel. Benn has been disappointing to say the least. He was expected to compliment Narine, but he has failed in it, scalping mere two wickets in six matches. On the flip side, Gabriel has bowled exceedingly well, something which wasn’t expected. Gabriel came in for Jerome Taylor for the final two games, and has managed to pick four wickets, including the 3-for against South Africa in the last match.

West Indies probable XI: Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Kieron Pollard, Carlos Brathwaite, Jason Holder (c), Sunil Narine, Suleiman Benn and Shannon Gabriel

(R Narayan is a reporter with CricketCountry, and is an ardent cricket and football enthusiast (big Manchester United fan). Having followed cricket since 2003, he likes high scoring matches as well as good fast bowling. His Twitter handle is @RNarayan24nov)