The slightly delayed ODI series between West Indies and Australia concludes on Monday evening and it does so with a deciding match out in Barbados with both the series on the line and more World Cup Super Series points.
West Indies forced this deciding match with a comfortable win in the second match of the series on Saturday night leaving Australia needing to pick up a victory to take something away from the Caribbean with them after they were battered in the T20s.
Full credit has to go to the West Indies for turning things around and winning that second match. That won’t have been easy to do after the way they were blasted away in the opening game and then all the issues with the Covid-19 positive test which put paid to the second game going off on time. Those are all distractions which would have presented an excuse which West Indies teams in previous years would have jumped all over but there is a bit more steel about this one.
West Indies rode their spinners in the previous match but there is nothing at all wrong with that. If there is a concern it is that they lost a bunch of wickets in chasing down a comfortable score but to be fair to them these aren’t the full batter friendly conditions that we come to expect at the Kensington Oval. You do fear for West Indies if they are invited to bat first here and lose early wickets. They can’t afford to allow that to happen.
You get the impression this is a big match for Australia. If they leave these shores with two series defeats to their name then that isn’t going to go down very well back home even allowing for the fact they are missing a number of players who would be in their strongest side were a 50 over World Cup to start tomorrow. What will really disappoint everyone back in Australia is how they have lost these matches on this tour – through not coming to terms with conditions or being competent against spin.
You get the impression that if Australia are going to win this match then they are going to have to come up with a way of playing the spin better than they have so far in the series. The other thing they will need to do is take early wickets. They have been doing that throughout the series but they could get overwhelmed if they don’t pick up early wickets here. The other thing they could do with is their own top order getting going.
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After winning last time out it would be a surprise if the West Indies do not name an unchanged side here. There is talk over the place of Jason Mohammed in the side but Kieron Pollard has already suggested he will play here.
Australia are sweating over the fitness of Ben McDermott who seemed to pick up an injury in the previous match. If he isn’t passed fit then Matthew Wade may well go up to open the batting and Dan Christian will come into the middle order.
This match is being played on the same pitch as the previous one was played on so it is hard to see a high scoring contest here. Whether that was always planned to be the case or it is a change because of the change in schedule I’m not sure but either way it didn’t play particularly well on Saturday evening and it is unlikely to have improved too much since then so this is a match where the bowlers are likely to be the dominant force.
Batting hasn’t really been easy throughout the series. Even when we arrived here for the first time for the opening ODI, Australia didn’t score at a run a ball in their first innings and West Indies just collapsed in a heap. The batsmen on both sides look to be struggling a little so I’m very surprised the runs line for this match is as high as 500.5. 250 hasn’t really been threatened yet let alone both sides scoring it in the one match. I’ll play the under here.
Back Under 500.5 runs for a 4/10 stake at 1.75 with Betway