World Cup 2019: Mitchell Starc leads Australia to win with fifer vs West Indies
Australia pace ace Mitchell Starc claims 5-46 to ensure West Indies fall short by 15 runs of their 289-run target
Australia extended their 100 per cent start to their World Cup title defence with a 15-run win against the West Indies at Trent Bridge yesterday. Nathan Coulter-Nile (92) hammered the best World Cup score by a number eight as Australia recovered from 38 for four to post 288 all out. Pace bowler Mitchell Starc took five wickets as Australia survived a tense run-chase, featuring 68 from Shai Hope, to restrict the West Indies to 273 for nine and make it two successive.
WI pacers on fire
Earlier, the West Indies fast bowlers ripped through the Australian top-order in a brilliant spell before Steve Smith and the record-breaking Nathan Coulter-Nile led a stunning fightback to power the defending champions to 288 all out in their World Cup match. Sent into bat, the Aussies were in trouble against the short-pitched deliveries unleased by the West Indian fast bowlers, who extracted a lot of bounce and seam movement initially from the Trent Bridge track. The Australians, who had easily beaten Afghanistan in their first match, lost four quick wickets for just 38 runs in the eighth over with Aaron Finch (6), David Warner (3), Usman Khawaja (13) and Glenn Maxwell (0) falling cheaply.
Australia players celebrate the dismissal of WI's top-scorer Shai Hope (68 runs)
Smith leads fightback
But, Smith led a remarkable fightback with a 73 off 103 deliveries while Coulter-Nile unleashed a late onslaught with an unbelievable 92 off 60 balls. Coulter-Nile, who hit eight fours and four sixes, in fact, became the highest run scorer by a number eight batsman in a World Cup. This was his maiden fifty in his 29th ODI. His previous highest was a 34 last year.
From 79 for five in the 17th over, the Australians clawed their way back to 119 for five at the halfway mark. With Smith and Coulter-Nile on the ascendency, they were 206 for six at the end of 40 overs before adding 81 runs in the final nine overs for five wickets. The spadework for the fightback was done by Smith, who, in March, came out of a 12-month ban for his involvement in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.
Australia's top-scorer Nathan Coulter-Nile (92) celebrates his half century. Pics/AFP
Coming out at the team total of 26 for two in the fourth over, Smith played a defiant yet solid innings to hold the Australian innings together. He hit seven boundaries for his 20th ODI fifty and first after his international comeback. Wicketkeeper batsman Alex Carey chipped in with a 55-ball 45, which was studded with five boundaries, for an invaluable 68-run stand for the sixth wicket with Smith to resurrect the Australian innings before Coulter-Nile played the innings of his life.
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