After a much more competitive Test series than was expected, followed by a bit of a non-event of an ODI series, West Indies conclude their tour of Australia with three T20 matches which might be the biggest games of their period in the country.
With a World Cup rapidly closing in, each T20 match that a nation plays from here on in will carry extra significance as teams look to go into that tournament with some form and the best preparation possible.
While Australia dominated the ODI matches between these two sides they will know they are up against a team who thrive in this format of the game. That said, Australia have a respectable record in this format themselves having won the World Cup two stagings ago and they are coming off the back of the Big Bash which ended recently enough for everyone in their squad to still have the nuances of T20 cricket fresh in their psyche.
Australia are mixing and matching on their best side in this series, particularly with the ball, which is understandable because they have shown for a while now that they will not compromise the success of their Test side and they begin a red ball series in New Zealand later in the month. They do look especially strong with the bat though and that bodes well because when the World Cup comes along the team who wins is likely to be the one who clears the ropes the most.
I would imagine when West Indies were planning this tour they would have had this part of it as the one where they would be the most competitive so with that in mind it has to be a positive that they have already shared the Test series with Australia. We probably shouldn’t read too much into the ODI matches because West Indies were very inexperienced with their gun players being allowed to play franchise cricket ahead of this series, where they look immensely stronger.
The test for West Indies in this series will be whether their all or nothing power batting can deliver the goods for them. When the T20 World Cup was in this part of the world they offered little or nothing to the event. We know their skills with the ball are good enough but they don’t rotate the strike very often so if they don’t find the boundaries they are going to leave themselves extremely vulnerable to the Australians.
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Mitchell Marsh will skipper Australia for the first time in this series. He will be without the likes of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins but Adam Zampa and Josh Hazlewood are in the squad. T20 specialists such as Glenn Maxwell and Tim David offer power with the bat.
West Indies have named a much stronger squad for these T20 matches with the likes of Rovman Powell, Jason Holder, Andre Russell and Nicholas Pooran all in. Oshane Thomas will be hoping for a start with the ball.
My hunch is that West Indies are a big price here but I would like to see them perform in this part of the world and show that they can rotate the strike and not just look to bash everything out of the park because they will do well to hit everything over the ropes here anyway but especially against this bowling attack. The chances are that is what they will look to do though so I think the boundaries might be the best bet here rather than West Indies to win.
The line for this one is 40.5 which feels a little on the low side to me. The reason I say that is because both teams will have plenty of depth with the bat. It might be that Sean Abbott bats at nine for this Australia side while West Indies had a T20 against England at the back end of last year where Alzarri Joseph was slated to come in at 11. Australia aren’t at full strength with the ball and there is no mystery spinner in the West Indies attack so this should be a high scoring series. Most of the batters have been in T20 action recently so I like over 40.5 boundaries in this one.
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