Venue – Carrara Stadium, Gold Coast
Date: Wednesday, October 5
By The Numbers
The number of T20Is that will be played between hosts Australia and visitors the West Indies in this series as both prepare for the forthcoming T20 World Cup to be held in Autralia. The tour continues with a pair of Test matches, but those don’t begin until the end of November, after the conclusion of the aforementioned World Cup. It is also worth notinc that these matches are reschedule from way back in October 2020, just another that the Covid-19 pandemic has ruined the sporting schedule for more than two years at this point.
The number of T20s that Austrlia have given themselves to be ready for the WOrld Cup. They haven’t played since taking on India last month and while they are likely to be ready, this mad dash to sort out a solid first XI against the clock – mainly due to injury – does feel like it could have been avoided with a couple more games played.
This is a West Indies side very much in transition. Stalwarts like Kierson Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, and Chris Gayle are not in the side, so younger players will have to step up in the World Cup when the pressure is one. They have lost their last two T20 series by a combined score of 6-2, with New Zealand defeating them 2-1 and then India thrashing them 4-1. At their best this is a team that plays with a fearless style and is capable of upsetting anyone. We need to see some of that here.
Australia will be bouyed by the return of all-rounder Mitchell Marsh after an ankle injury. Marsh is a key player for the Aussies if they are to win the World Cup, as his ability with both the bat and the ball makes him indispensable in their lineup. He will bat at his usual No. 3 position here, but he won’t be bowling as the Australians try to limit his miles on his return from injury. With Marcus Stonis still missing through a problematic side strain, having Marsh back in the lineup is massive.
David Warer (rest) also returns, while exciting youngster Cameron Green will likely feature even though his chance of making the World Cup squad appears slim if the Aussies get all their players back from injury.
The stunning news before these matches get underway is that middle-order batsman Shimron Hetmyer has been dropped from the squad after missing his flight to Australia. The missed flight – which had already been rescheduled for “family reasons” has also seen Hetmyer dropped from the World Cup squad. The 25-year-old has since been replaced in the West Indies contingent by Shamarh Brooks.
THe good news for the West Indies is that Brooks is in fine form. He was 56 not out in his last T20I against New Zealand in August, while he hit an unbeaten 109 in the qualifier final as his Jamaica Tallawahs won the Caribbean Premier League.
The hosts are heavy favorites here and even without the turmoil in the Windies squad I would expect them to win. Australia believes that the World Cup trophy has their name on it, so don’t consider backing the outsiders here as Austrlia begins to fine tune towards that ultimate goal. I don’t hate Marsh at 4/1 to come out firing in his return and be the best home team batsman on the day with BetXchange.