West Indies racked up a thrilling, low scoring victory over Australia, beating them for the first time since October 2006, in the second ODI at Kingstown.
Australia, who dominated the first ODI, bowling the West Indies out for 140, looked to be in absolute shambles, as nothing went their way throughout the match.
Australian Captain, Shane Watson, blamed the change in weather for the tough conditions and the loss. “Once the sun got on the wicket it seemed to settle a little more but that’s the great challenge of the playing in the West Indies and we have to adapt a little better. It’s about getting the balance of the batting – the wickets are a little different from home” he said.
However, even before the game could get started, the rain came down, delaying the toss, and leaving the fans of both teams in suspense of which Captain would have the choice of batting or bowling first. About an hour later, the West Indian fans, already had something to cheer about, as their Captain, Darren Sammy, won the toss and chose to field because of the wet conditions.
With the match already being delayed once due to a wet outfield, the players wasted no time in starting the match right away.
But, just five overs into the match, with Australia on 16 runs for the loss of no wickets, the rain came back and stopped play for approximately two hours. With the loss of so much time, the game was rescheduled to be only 40 overs long for both sides.
Australian openers, Shane Watson and David Warner, now knew that they had less time to post up a defendable score, and tried to up the scoring rate as much as they could.
But, Australia were dealt two early blows, as Kemar Roach took out two of their batsmen in one over. Warner was the first to go, as Roach bowled him with a peach of a delivery that kept very low on the damp surface, while Peter Forrest, who came in after Warner departed, just nibbled at a delivery outside the off stump and paid the price with his wicket, as he was caught in the slips.
With Australia reeling after the two early strikes, Captain Watson and Michael Hussey, added a small partnership of 27 runs, which steadied the Australian innings a bit, before Watson, himself, fell victim to the conditions and the tight West Indian bowling.
With yet another wicket, the West Indian bowlers, stepped up the pressure another notch, as they made the Hussey brothers, Michael and David, work for their runs.
The Hussey brothers, gave Australia a little spark of hope, as they started to get settled at the crease and adapt to the conditions of the pitch.
They put started to put together a partnership that was beginning to flourish, but, disaster struck, when Michael Hussey fell victim to the West Indies young, upcoming spinner, Sunil Narine.
With the promising 31 run partnership broken up, George Bailey, who was spectacular on his debut in the first ODI, worked with David Hussey, to try and dig Australia out of the big hole they had dug themselves into.
The pair communicated well together, calling sharply for runs and dispatching any short pitched deliveries to the boundary.
But, like most of the Australian partnerships before, the moment things looked to be picking up, the West Indies struck with another wicket, and this time it was George Bailey, who succumbed to the pressure of the West Indian bowlers.
With the tail now starting to become exposed, the West Indian bowlers kept bowling a good line and length to the batsmen, and were rewarded with regular wickets, including that of David Hussey, who had worked so hard for his 37 runs.
West Indies, quickly finished off the lower order batsmen, limiting Australia to 154 at the end of their 40 overs.
Sunil Narine was the star of the West Indian bowling attack, as he troubled the Australian batsmen all day, giving him four wickets. Kemar Roach picked up two wickets, while, Dwayne Bravo and Captain Darren Sammy chipped in with a wicket each.
Narine, was awarded the Man of the Match award, for his outstanding bowling spell, and said: “The ball was spinning and I just had to concentrate on bowling correct areas. Today it came out well and I hope I can continue to do well for the captain for the rest of the series.”
Set a target of 155 to chase, on what was looking to be a highly difficult pitch, the West Indian openers, Kieran Powell and Johnson Charles, made their way to the middle, looking to give West Indies a solid start.
However, that solid start was not to be, as Powell was removed on the first ball of the West Indian innings, falling leg before to Brett Lee.
With Marlon Samuels being the new batsmen in, the Australians stepped up the pressure, and tried to use the deteriorating conditions to their advantage.
Samuels and Charles, slowly and steadily guided West Indies closer to their target, with some precise running and fluent stroke play.
When the pair were just about looking to take things away from the Australians, Captain Shane Watson, provided his team with the vital wicket of Samuels, who had played well for his 20 runs.
Australia, then left the game up for grabs once again, as they struck twice in quick succession, removing Darren Bravo and opener Johnson Charles.
With their top order batsmen back in the pavilion, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, did not want the batting lineup to collapse, like it had in the first ODI, and they slowly got themselves settled in the darkening conditions.
Pollard and Bravo played well together and edged West Indies ever closer to their target, while the Australians started to get frustrated that they could not stop them from doing so.
Soon, the pair’s partnership have gone past 50 runs, which proved to be highly valuable, as West Indies looked to the favourites to beat Australia after six long years.
Just as the pair were looking to step it up another level, due to the deteriorating light conditions, the Australians claimed the wicket of Bravo, who was run out, after playing a solid and match-saving innings of 30.
Pollard, meanwhile, looked to be in fine form and continued to work the runs with wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh.
Baugh, however, was in no mood for waiting around, as he started to dispatch the Australian bowlers all over the ground.
With the West Indies needing just two runs to win, Baugh, finished off the match in style, sweeping Australian spinner, Xavier Doherty, for a huge six, much to the delight of the St Vincent crowd.
Baugh, was unbeaten on 18 runs from just 17 deliveries, while Pollard, remained undefeated on 47, which included four massive sixes.
With the match won, the West Indies started their celebrations, while the Australians looked on in total disappointment.
Brett Lee, Shane Watson and Xavier Doherty, all took one wicket in Australia’s amazing effort to defend their total of 154.
Captain Watson, was disappointed with the loss, but, was looking to put it behind him and focus on the next match. “It was difficult definitely but in the end we were 20-30 runs short. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get big enough partnerships through the start or middle … In the end we kept on fighting but we were a little short” he said.
West Indian Captain, Darren Sammy, on the other hand, was so proud of his team for ending the six year wait to beat Australia, and said: “It’s a good feeling, the team played much better today, the bowlers did well again and there was much more responsibility when chasing the runs. It was a total team effort … All in all we were searching for a win and we are glad we got over the line. From the last game, when we batted, there was not much change; today we did what we had to do and I’m just happy we won one.”
With the win, the West Indies evened up the series at 1-1, and will be looking to extend their lead, when the two sides square off against each other once again on the 20th of March at Kingstown once again.