Action in the Ballr Tri-series will reach fever pitch today, as the West Indies aim to send world champions Australia packing, as a win by the regional team will put them into the finals against South Africa.
Sunday’s washout between Australia and South Africa has put added spice to the closely contested series and if West Indies win, they will move on to 12 points and leave Australia out in the cold with 11 points. They will then meet South Africa in the title match on Sunday also at Kensington Oval in Barbados because the Proteas lead the standings with 12 points.
If Australia takes today’s battle which gets underway at 1 pm, they will qualify for the finals with 15 points and it will leave West Indies and South Africa to battle for the final slot. It will be a straight shootout between the West Indies and South Africa in that game because according to tournament rules, if teams are locked on the same points, the one with more wins will qualify. If West Indies win they would have 12 points just like the Africans but they will have one more win.
The West Indies selectors have dropped Jerome Taylor from the squad, forcing at least one change to their XI. Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel and offspinner Ashley Nurse must both be hoping for an ODI debut in this match. Including Nurse would leave Jason Holder and Carlos Brathwaite as the only pace options, so Gabriel would appear the more likely debutant.
On the Australian side Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland came in for Travis Head, Adam Zampa and Nathan Coulter-Nile. Maxwell and Starc are likely to retain their places but Boland, with little cricket behind him, is expected to make way for this must-win clash.
Australia’s selectors must decide whether to go for pace and bring Coulter-Nile back, or perhaps more likely, recall the impressive young legspinner Zampa, who was left out against South Africa only because of the wet conditions.
Meanwhile, the West Indies has surprised many during this series and has been competitive against the world number one team Australia and the number three ranked team South Africa. Ranked eighth going into the tournament the West Indies have gained five valuable points. The West Indies had started the series on 88 points and can potentially move ahead of seventh-ranked Bangladesh if they win this tournament.
Australia: Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith (capt), George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade (wk), James Faulkner, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.
West Indies: Andre Fletcher, Johnson Charles, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Kieron Pollard, Jason Holder (capt), Carlos Brathwaite, Sunil Narine, Sulieman Benn, Shannon Gabriel, Ashley Nurse.