After five T20 internationals which provided great entertaining and a one-sided score, West Indies and Australia now turn their hand to the 50 over format for three day-night ODIs, the first of which comes from Barbados on Tuesday.
West Indies dominated the T20 series and they would like to do likewise here but this is a much stronger format for the Australians and even with a weakened side they will be expected to deliver the goods. World Cup Super Series points are at stake here so this should be nice and competitive.
This is the first time we will have seen West Indies in action since they hosted Sri Lanka earlier in the year. They won that series 3-0 but without being disrespectful to anyone, this is a much tougher task for them. That series whitewash ended a run of six matches without a win in ODI cricket for West Indies, although they haven’t always utilised their strongest team for those outings so they shouldn’t be judged on all of them, unless of course you are looking for squad depth in a cricketing world where that is becoming more and more necessary.
One of the reasons why West Indies struggle against the better nations in this format of the game is their top order don’t get enough big scores. When they bat well they tend to get 60 or 70 rather than the 100 or 120 which wins matches. Generally when someone does go big for West Indies they win matches because they have a good bowling attack so the aim is clearly going to be to make sure they score some big runs at the top of the order.
This has always been the strongest of the two white ball formats for Australia although they could be a little rusty here because they have only played six ODIs since the Covid-19 pandemic took full force on the world. They haven’t played a single 50 over match in 2021 and in a three match series there isn’t really the chance to ease their way in. They need to hit the ground running. The 20 over series will have helped but this is still a different format and they will need to be at it from the start.
Australia largely succeed in this format on the strength of their bowling attack. Although they have plenty of depth with the bat, a large amount of it is bits and pieces all-rounders rather than say and England or an India who have genuine batting depth right through the card. Those batsmen can sometimes get bogged down or exposed in overseas conditions and they can’t afford that to be the case here. Bowling well might not just be enough.
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Kieron Pollard refused to give away whether he would play or not which suggests he still isn’t fit. He did hint that Hayden Walsh Jr could be used on his home CPL ground even though he wasn’t named in the original squad. There is a return for Jason Holder.
Australia are without their captain Aaron Finch for this first match as he is out with an injury. Alex Carey will lead a side which might well give debuts to Josh Philippe and Ben McDermott. Mitchell Marsh will have a place in the side after impressing in the T20s.
West Indies look the stronger of the two sides personnel wise here. This is an Australia side which from its strongest unit are missing Aaron Finch, Dave Warner, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Pat Cummins and when you look at their likely XI here the all-rounders start coming in at three. That doesn’t mean they can’t bat but you’d want more genuine top order batsmen than that.
West Indies have a pretty settled side. Obviously it would be better if Kieron Pollard does play but they have Fabian Allen coming in at eight and they are going to bowl at least 20 overs of spin which Australia struggled to get away throughout the T20 series. Barbados is always a good place for West Indies to play cricket because there is pace and bounce in the pitch which suits their batsmen perfectly and given the confidence the squad will have after the T20s, even though there is no Gayle, Russell or Dwayne Bravo in this format, I still think the hosts are overpriced at evens given the likely strengths of the two teams.
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