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Just like the one-day series before it, the battle for T20 glory between Australia and the West Indies ended all square with the hosts drawing level by winning the second and final T20 encounter by 14 runs in Barbados on Friday. Batting first, the West Indies got off to a blistering start on the back of a half-century partnership between Dwayne Smith (63) and Johnson Charles (37). Brett Lee (3-23) and his band of merry men pulled things back considerably in the second half of the innings with only one other batsmen entering double digits as the West Indies were bowled out for 160 inside their 20 overs. The Aussies in response seemed well on course to victory cruising at 89/2 in the 12th over before they do struggled to find the boundaries in the late overs with Fidel Edwards and Marlon Samuels picking up 3 wickets a piece to see their side home.
The Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados was the final stop for the Australian limited overs side on their tour of the West Indies. Leading 1-0 in the T20 series, Australia picked an unchanged side for this game. The Windies made three changes to their side bringing back Marlon Samuels for Darren Bravo, while also calling up Fidel Edwards and Danza Hyatt for this game.
The 6 over powerplay went like a dream for the West Indies with James Pattinson and Brett Lee hit out of the attack after just an over each with 29 runs coming off the two overs combined. After a few quiet overs, the opening duo of Johnson Charles and Dwayne Smith went after Xavier Doherty, helping themselves to 22 runs in the final over of the powerplay to propel the score to 65/0.
Sadly for the hosts, they could not capitalize on the foundation laid as wickets fell at regular intervals after the powerplay with none of the batsmen able to make a significant contribution. Charles was the first to go, caught by Dan Christian off Shane Watson for 37 (21b). Kieran Pollard was bumped up the order to no.3, but the move failed miserably as the big hitting Trinidadian was caught behind off the returning Brett Lee for 1.
The two Dwaynes - Smith and Bravo - restored some form of sanity to proceedings, sharing in a 30-run stand for the 3rd wicket in just 10 deliveries when the former fell for 63 caught in the deep off Doherty, while attempting to hit his 5th maximum.
The West Indies innings fell apart after Smith's dismissal with Darren Sammy (5), Danza Hyatt (6) and Marlon Samuels (2) all notching up single digit scores. Dwayne Bravo kept up one end while wickets fell around him, but failed to find the boundary himself in 20 odd balls faced. Heading into the last 3 overs, the West Indies were 152/6, needing one final push to try and get them closer to 180.
It was, however, the wickets that kept coming Carlon Baugh (7) and the boundary-less Bravo (23) falling on consecutive deliveries. The West Indies innings was wrapped up for 160 with 2 balls to go, a poor score considering the start the side had received.
Australia's innings started as if the West Indies' was still on with Shane Watson heading back to the pavilion in the frst over without a run to his name. David Warner and T20 skipper George Bailey took charge of the run chase, pilfering 50 runs in the powerplay with the former going berserk, getting to his half century off 39 balls with the help of four boundaries and a couple of sixes. Bailey made 24 from 18 at the other end before Marlon Samuels had him caught sweeping.
Another useful partnership, this time with Michael Hussey adding 25 in Warner's company pushed the Aussies closer to victory before both set batsmen fell within the space of five deliveries. Samuels had Hussey caught and bowled for 14 before Warner was run out for 58 by a direct hit from Bravo. Australia were 98/4 at the end of 13 overs, and though the Windies had a bit of an opening, it was still very much Australia's game to lose.
David Hussey and Matthew Wade got together in the middle and appeared to be on course to guiding their team to victory, sharing in a 35-run stand for the 5th wicket. Wade though was once again taking way too long to get his runs, and when he fell for a 20-ball 17, Australia needed a further 27 to win from 14 balls. The left-handed wicketkeeper was Marlon Samuels' third victim, with the batting allrounder finishing with excellent figures of 3-23.
The batsmen who followed had no choice but to just swing bravely on each and every delivery, but Fidel Edwards made the job even harder by removing Dan Christian (3) and Brett Lee (0) on consecutive deliveries. Edwards was on course for a double wicket maiden when Clint McKay deposited his penultimate delivery into the bleachers to bring the equation down to 19 from the last over.
Dwayne Bravo was given the responsibility to protect those runs, and he did so admirably conceding 2 from the first 3 balls before removing David Hussey (19) and McKay (7) to complete a perfect final over as the Windies cruised to a 14-run win.
The T20 series ended in a dead heat just like the one-dayers, and it is now over to the 3-match test series where the winner will quite literally take all. Despite the West Indies' competitiveness in the limited overs format, Australia will be the overwhelming favourites in the 5-day version where their superior technical competence should enable them to prevail.
West Indies: J Charles, DR Smith, MN Samuels, DJ Bravo, KA Pollard, DP Hyatt, CS Baugh (wk), DJG Sammy (c), GE Mathurin, F Edwards, SP Narine
Australia: DA Warner, MS Wade (wk), SR Watson, MEK Hussey, DJ Hussey, GJ Bailey (c), DT Christian, CJ McKay, XJ Doherty, B Lee, JL Pattinson
West Indies 160 all out (19.4 overs, 8.13 rpo)
D Smith 63 (34) C McKay 2-24
J Charles 37 (21) B Lee 3-23
Australia 146/9 (20 overs, 7.3 rpo)
D Warner 58 (43) F Edwards 3-23
G Bailey 24 (18) M Samuels 3-23
File Photograph Copyright: BCB
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