Mitchell Starc celebrates after winning the match © AFP
Mitchell Marsh celebrates after winning the match © AFP

Australia made their way to the Final of Tri-Nation series 2016 featuring West Indies and South Africa as they beat hosts by six wickets in the 8th ODI to move on top of the Points Table. Glenn Maxwell’s quickfire 46 from 26 balls ensured that Australia chased down the total at ease with eight balls to spare. Mitchell Marsh was adjudged Man of the Match for his 79 from 85 balls, anchoring the innings and keeping his wicket intact which prevented another batting collapse. He was well supported by skipper Steven Smith, who scored a valuable 78 to keep his team in hunt before he was run out. It seemed like his wicket might be the turning point of the match. It did prove to be the turning point but in Australia’s favour as he was struggling to score runs at a brisk rate. Full Cricket Scorecard: West Indies vs Australia, Match 8, Tri-Nation Series 2016 at Barbados

Smith and Marsh shared a 122 run stand for the fourth wicket keeping the scoreboard ticking. Australia had a good start which was short lived as both Aaron Finch(16) and Usman Khawaja (17) went back to the pavilion cheaply. Brathwaite drew first blood when he sent Finch packing. Debutant Shannon Gabriel took the wicket of Khawaja.

George Bailey looked sloppy right from the start. He shared a 64 run partnership with Smith before he was removed by Sulieman Benn. He was trying to work the ball towards leg side which took a leaning edge straight in the hands of Pollard standing in cover region. Marsh came into bat and carried forward the innings from there.

Earlier, Marlon Samuels’s first-ever hundred against Australia and a record-breaking partnership with Denesh Ramdin lifted the West Indies to a competitive 282 for eight batting first in the eighth match of the Tri-Nation One-Day International Series at Kensington Oval in Barbados on Tuesday. Dismissed off the last ball of the innings for 125, an innings highlighted by 14 fours and two sixes off 134 deliveries, Samuels’s masterful innings followed a match-winning 92 in the last meeting between the two teams in St Kitts a week earlier. Amazingly, they were his first two scores over 50 in ODI cricket against the Australians for more than 14 years.

Ramdin, who matched his senior partner shot-for-shot in an entertaining innings of 91, joined Samuels at the crease with the West Indies faltering at 31 for three in the ninth over after Steven Smith had won the toss and chose to field in a match the World Cup-holders had to win in order to advance to Sunday’s final at the same venue. They put on 192 for the fourth wicket, a new record for the West Indies against Australia as it surpassed the mark of 149 set by Clive Lloyd and Rohan Kanhai in the inaugural World Cup final at Lord’s exactly 41 years earlier. (with inputs from AFP)

During the course of his innings, Samuels went past the landmark of 5,000 ODI runs while Ramdin became the first West Indies wicketkeeper to reach the plateau of 2,000 runs in this format of the game before Mitchell Starc broke the partnership by bowling Ramdin as he missed an attempt at a leg-side heave. Two of the three sixes in his 92-ball innings were consecutive straight hits off Starc, the left-arm fast bowler finishing with figures of three for 51. He should have also claimed the wicket of Samuels but wicketkeeper Matthew Wade failed to hold onto the chance offered when the Jamaican batsman was on 65.

James Faulkner and Scott Boland took two wickets each, however Australia struggled in the absence of a specialist slow bowler with Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell combining for five comparatively economical overs. That reliance on pace had appeared justified at the start of the West Indies innings, though, when Starc dispatched openers Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher while Josh Hazlewood accounted for Darren Bravo via a diving slip catch by Smith within the first nine overs.

Brief Scores

West Indies 282 for 8 in 50 overs (Marlon Samuels 125; Josh Hazlewood 4 for 39) lost to Australia 283 for 4 in 48.4 overs (Mitchell Marsh 79; Shannon Gabriel 1 for 43) by 6 wickets.

Man of the Match: Marlon Samuels

Full Cricket Scorecard: West Indies vs Australia, Match 8, Tri-Nation Series 2016 at Barbados