Australia 270 for 9 (Wade 57*, Holder 2-51, Gabriel 2-58) beat West Indies 212 ( Charles 45, Hazlewood 5-50, Marsh 3-32) by 58 runs
Having taken Australia into the triangular series final with the bat, Mitchell Marsh ensured a tournament-winning victory over the West Indies by delivering with the ball.
Marsh’s emergence as a performer under pressure was a major positive of Australia’s otherwise workman-like defeat of West Indies and the already vanquished South Africa, making it fitting that he landed the decisive blows against a doughty home side.
A spell of 3 for 7 featured the wickets of Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels and Johnson Charles in successive overs, breaking the back of the West Indies chase and leaving too much for their heavy-hitting lower order to do. Josh Hazlewood followed up with five wickets of his own, the finishing touch arriving with a typically mercurial catch by Glenn Maxwell.
Mitchell Marsh struck 32 and claimed three wickets in three overs in Australia’s victory © AFP
Australia also owed much to the wicketkeeper Mathew Wade, who muscled his way to a half-century with the tail that atoned for earlier wasted starts by the top order, while also reaffirming his place in the team. Wade’s late hitting stretched the total to 270 when at one point 240 looked more likely.
Following a decent start on a slowing pitch in Bridgetown, the visitors’ middle order fell away and the tail was left to scratch around against tight bowling by Carlos Brathwaite, Jason Holder and Sulieman Benn. From 152 for 3 in the 31st over, Australia lost 4 for 59 in 13.1 overs before the wicketkeeper Matthew Wade staged a punchy rearguard – his first meaningful innings of the tournament.
Usman Khawaja, Aaron Finch, George Bailey, the captain Steven Smith and Mitchell Marsh were all left to rue their dismissals after making starts. Maxwell was unable to halt the slide, falling to Shannon Gabriel’s well-directed pace in the same over as Smith.
Those wickets left Wade in the company of the bowlers, after the selector on duty Trevor Hohns and the interim coach Justin Langer made a significant departure from previous policy by dropping the allrounder James Faulkner.
Man of the match in last year’s World Cup final, Faulkner’s recent form with the ball has disappointed, and he has had relatively few opportunities to showcase his late innings batting due to the performances of others. Instead, Hohns and Langer plumped for the pace of Nathan Coulter-Nile alongside a recall for the wristspin of Adam Zampa.
(Daniel Brettig © ESPN Sports Media Ltd.)