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Cricket World Cup: Australia beats West Indies by 15 runs in tight Trent Bridge clash to remain unbeaten

By ABC News,

Australia has pulled off a tense 15-run victory over the West Indies at Trent Bridge to remain unbeaten after two games at the Cricket World Cup.
In a match that ebbed and flowed throughout, the West Indies could muster only 273 from their 50 overs as Australia recorded their second win of the tournament.

An early onslaught with the ball and a patient, well-paced effort with the bat looked like being enough for the West Indies to record what would have been an impressive victory, but some poor decisions in crucial moments proved the Windies’ undoing.

With the bat, Nathan Coulter-Nile (92) and Steve Smith (73) forced Australia to a competitive total after collapsing early to 4-38, but on a relatively good pitch it still looked like being just short of a par score.

For much of the chase, the West Indies were on track and looked to be cruising to victory, but Australia took enough wickets at timely intervals to remain in the hunt, and big late spells from Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc proved too much for the team in maroon to handle.

Chris Gayle rode his luck early, throwing the bat after successfully reviewing two dismissals in one Mitchell Starc over, but a third DRS referral the following over proved one too many.

From there on, it was a team effort for the Windies with the bat. There were half-centuries for Shai Hope (68) and Jason Holder (51), while every batsman other than opener Evin Lewis reached double figures.

But when Starc returned for his final spell, with the West Indies needing a little over a run a ball with four wickets in hand, he picked up Carlos Brathwaite (16) and took the big wicket of Holder to put Australia in the driver’s seat.

Finishing with the excellent figures of 5-46, Starc’s late-innings performance was key as the West Indies batted out the overs in the knowledge the game had gone.

Early wickets put West Indies in control
Having won the toss and elected to bowl on an overcast morning, the West Indies took it upon themselves to make a positive early impression, and despite a few wayward early deliveries, it did not take long for the quicks to strike.

Aaron Finch was the first to go, undone by a wonderful swinging delivery from Oshane Thomas for 6, before David Warner prodded Sheldon Cottrell to backward point for 3.

With both openers in the sheds, Australia needed time to settle, but the ferocious pace of the Windies’ quicks meant Usman Khawaja never had it. Having been roughed up by a sequence of bouncers, he played a rash shot to a full ball and was brilliantly caught behind for 13.

The collapse continued when Glenn Maxwell fell after just two balls faced, top edging a hook shot and handing keeper Shai Hope the easiest of catches. Marcus Stoinis threatened to steady the ship alongside Steve Smith, but fell to a poor pull shot of his own for 19.

At 5-79, Australia looked on the ropes. But the cool head of Smith and the flashing blade of Coulter-Nile dug the Aussies out of the mire and helped them post a competitive total.

Smith looked completely unflustered for his 73, seemingly immune to the demons in the pitch that bedevilled his teammates.

It took an extraordinary catch on the boundary from Cottrell — who stuck out a hand at a ball almost already over the rope, and relayed a throw back to himself to complete the dismissal — to thwart the former skipper.

Coulter-Nile kept his strike rate up even after the loss of Smith, targeting the short boundaries and clearing them regularly.

It was his first 50 for Australia, and the highest score ever made by a number eight batsman in a World Cup. Coulter-Nile deserved a ton, but fell agonisingly short going for yet another six down the ground.

In the washup, it mattered little. The West Indies will look back on the game as a huge missed opportunity, while Australia will happily take a victory from a game it did not play near its best in.

Well, for about 66.6% of that game I thought the Windies were on top, but some gritty performances from the Australians and good captaincy from Finch really amped up the pressure. And you’ve got to say the West Indies panicked here.

Well done especially to Steve Smith and Nathan Coulter-Nile with the bat and Mitchell Starc with the ball.
Well, for about 66.6% of that game I thought the Windies were on top, but some gritty performances from the Australians and good captaincy from Finch really amped up the pressure. And you’ve got to say the West Indies panicked here.

Well done especially to Steve Smith and Nathan Coulter-Nile with the bat and Mitchell Starc with the ball.
And the Aussies remain undefeated at the 2019 World Cup (after two games).

We’ll see you for Australia’s next game!