The West Indies were denied their first win against Australia in 17 years, after Australia won the final ODI, ending the series 2-2.
Fans were shocked and disappointed after the West Indies batting lineup collapsed, as they believed the West Indies had the opportunity to make history.
West Indies Captain, Darren Sammy, who provided some last minute heroics for the team, said: “I think we should have won the series, looking back at that third game. The Lord works in mysterious ways. I just want to thank the crowds for coming out and supporting us.”
Captain Sammy, won the toss and chose to bowl, much to the surprise of the West Indies fans, as the pitch had shown that there were plenty of runs to be scored. However, at the end of the fourth ODI, Australian Captain, Shane Watson, said: “It’s as close as you get to an Australian wicket, with the pace and the bounce and a little bit of seam movement. I thought this was a brilliant one-day wicket and I’m pretty sure we’ll get the same thing next game as well.”
The Australian openers, David Warner and Watson himself, both knew that they were short of runs this series, and now was the time to prove their worth to the squad.
The pair, started off very well, running hard between the wickets and dispatching short pitched deliveries, which there were a lot of in the first couple of overs, to the boundary.
With Warner and Watson keeping the scoreboard ticking at an excellent pace, Captain Sammy, was starting to wonder if he should have decided to bat first.
The opening pair, were also maintaining an excellent run rate of around five runs per over, which was just what they needed, after posting some mediocre totals in the past couple of ODIs.
The fifty partnership came and went, and soon, the West Indies bowling lineup, were trying extra hard to dismiss one of the two openers, which resulted in a lot of poor deliveries that Warner and Watson used to boost their confidence even more.
Watson and Warner soon brought up the hundred partnership, and Warner, his own half century, which was a timely return to form.
However, once the hundred partnership landmark was achieved, Warner started to chance his arm at a lot of the deliveries being bowled, and it was not really a surprise when he top edged one and was caught out. Warner had played a brilliant knock of 69 from just 61 balls, but, with his dismissal, the partnership was also ended on 118.
Watson, was joined at the crease by Peter Forrest, and together, the pair continued to build on the strong start the Australians had got off to.
Watson, soon brought up his own half century, making it the first major contribution in the series as Captain.
As the runs continued to flow, Captain Sammy, looked rather frustrated as the bowling once again took a dive, helping the Australian batsman get more and more settled at the crease.
But, just as the fifty run partnership was within striking distance, Watson, who looked so good throughout his innings, just guided the ball right down third man’s throat, ending his excellent innings of 66.
Australia, after losing both openers, started to have a bit of a collapse, as George Bailey, who had been quite solid throughout the series, was removed early by a full toss, which was hit straight to Andre Russell at mid-on.
Brett Lee, promoted up the order for his absolutely scintillating batting performance in the fourth ODI, failed to produce the magic once again, as he was comprehensively bowled by Sunil Narine on 12.
Meanwhile, Peter Forrest was still playing well, as he hit the ball into the gaps, and tried to keep the Australian innings alive, but, it was looking harder and harder after the continuous fall of wickets at the other end.
Forrest, brought up his own half century, before perishing himself, as he tried to up the scoring rate, but, fell to a good catch by Kemar Roach at mid-wicket, bringing an end to his controlled innings of 53.
Australia were dealt a major blow the very next delivery, as David Hussey, was delivered a brute of a bouncer by Andre Russell, and just couldn’t get his bat out of the way, as he was caught behind.
Andre Russell, was unlucky to miss out of his hat-trick, but, nevertheless, the damage had been inflicted and the Australians looked to be reeling.
Michael Hussey and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, put together a quick partnership of 38, before Russell struck again for the West Indies, this time removing Hussey, who was caught at the boundary by a slower delivery.
Kemar Roach, who had been taken for a lot of runs in his previous couple of overs, was given the important task of bowling the final over of the Australian innings, which he did so to perfection.
Roach, first removed Clint Mckay, who miscued a shot that ended up in the hands of deep midwicket, before snatching another two deliveries later, as Matthew Wade tried to heave one over the boundary, but ended up caught on the boundary at deep cover.
Andre Russell was the pick of the West Indian bowlers, as he took four wickets, while Kemar Roach picked up three, and Sunil Narine chipped in with two of his own, as the West Indies restricted Australia to a total of 281.
Facing a challenging target of 282, the West Indies, got off to the worst start possible, as opener Johnson Charles was caught and bowled by Brett Lee, on the fifth ball of the innings.
In his next over, Brett Lee struck again, this time getting Marlon Samuels caught behind on a peach of a delivery.
Lee’s first three overs were all maidens, as he had dealt some major blows early into the West Indies innings.
Darren Bravo and other opener, Adrian Barath, somewhat steadied the West Indies innings, with a 32 run partnership, before, Clint Mckay, got the wicket of Bravo, who tried to guide a delivery down to third man, but ended up getting caught behind, ending his innings on three, and his series on a disappointing note as well.
Adrian Barath, on the other hand, was doing his best to keep the West Indies scoreboard moving, as he launched into the Australian bowling attack, and seemed to be on top of his game.
Barath, continued to watch in disbelief, as he lost yet another partner, when Dwayne Bravo, played an extremely loose shot to George Bailey at short extra cover, much to the delight of the Australian Captain, Shane Watson.
Barath, started to realise that he may not have any partners left soon, so he continued to play very risky strokes against the Australian bowling, which, finally was the reason why he was dismissed, after getting a top edge on a slog, which ended up in the hands of Bailey once again.
Wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh and big hitter Kieron Pollard, offered some sort of resistance, as they hammered the Australian bowling all over the park, which started to worry Watson, after he and his team felt the wrath of Pollard in the fourth ODI.
However, Australia soon got the breakthrough, as Carlton Baugh, tried to hit one out of the ground, that ended up going straight into the hands of Ben Hilfenhaus at fine leg.
But, Australian wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, had also been running for the catch, and collided with Hilfenhaus, who did not see Wade coming. Wade, took a nasty blow to the solar plexus from Hilfenhau’s knee, but, after a couple of minutes, he declared that he was alright and continued on with the match.
Pollard, who had been looking in top form, surprised everyone, after mistiming a shot, which went straight to Michael Hussey at deep midwicket, leaving him to walk back to the pavilion after making 33 runs.
Australia, now knowing that they were one wicket away from being amongst the lower order batsman, increased the pressure on the two new batsman, Andre Russell and Captain Darren Sammy.
However, much to Australia’s surprise, Russell and Sammy worked extremely well together, as the smashed boundary after boundary, causing the fans to become alive once again, as they provided a new spark of hope for the West Indies.
Russell and Sammy, kept the big shots coming, as the Australian bowlers could only watch as the ball sailed over the ropes.
With Sammy and Russell leading the charge, the West Indies soon brought the required run rate down to a acceptable level.
The fifty partnership between the pair came and went almost immediately, and after the landmark had been passed, the intensity only continued to increase.
Sammy tied his career record for his fastest half century, making 52 runs from only 20 deliveries, as the crowd at St Lucia went berserk.
Just as the hundred partnership was brought up between the pair, Xavier Doherty got a delivery to nip back and hit the pads of Russell, however, the umpire did not give him out. Doherty, who was certain the ball had hit the pad before the bat, asked Captain Shane Watson to review the decision, and to Russell’s disbelief, the umpire’s orginal call had been overturned by the third umpire, forcing Russell to make the long walk back to the pavilion after an entertaining innings of 41 from 33 balls.
Russell and Sammy had put together a partnership of 101 runs, which is now the highest eighth wicket partnership in the history of West Indies cricket, from 9.5 overs at a run rate of 10.27.
Sunil Narine joined his Captain at the middle, and together they added another 13 nail-biting runs, before, disaster struck once again for the West Indies, as Clint Mckay got Narine caught behind, leaving Australia only one wicket to get to tie the series.
The last batsman for the West Indies, Kemar Roach, just kept giving Darren Sammy the strike, as he was dispatching ball after ball to the boundary, slowly bringing West Indies closer and closer to victory.
But, it was not to be, as Ben Hilfenhaus, took the prize wicket of Sammy, who tried to clear the boundary once again, but, found the waiting hands of Michael Hussey at deep square leg, and perished on 84 from just 50 deliveries.
Sammy, who was awarded the Man of the Match award for his blistering innings, said: “It’s about getting the top six to click. We have a ‘never say die’ attitude, everyone played their part, as a captain I was well supported and it’s good to see us getting results.”
Sammy’s 84 runs is now his highest score in ODIs, while also being a heroic Captain’s knock at the end of the innings.
The Australians celebrated their 30 run victory, and with the series ending as a tie at 2-2, they avoided being defeated for the first time in 17 years.
Brett Lee took three wickets, while Clint Mckay, Shane Watson and Xavier Doherty took two each, and Ben Hilfenhaus chipped in one.
Captain Sammy, at the post match presentations, was visibly disappointed with the loss, but was still happy with the effort from the team. “As a team we decided to bowl first. We weren’t at our best, at one time it looked like we would be chasing 330 but we pulled it back. Against the world No. 1, with our backs against the wall, it was fantastic effort from the team. Today again the top order didn’t click but we can still put runs on the board” he said.
Captain Watson, on the other hand, was just pleased to have avoided a series defeat, and said: “It was good for us in the end, to close off the game, even though a fantastic innings from Darren Sammy ran us close. We hoped to get up around 300 but thought we done enough. Brett Lee is a high-class one-day bowler and that showed for us today … We are in a bit of a transition phase, it’s been a pleasing series, there are a few things we have to work on but we’re going the right way.”
With the ODI series coming to a thrilling end, both teams will be looking forward to winning the two upcoming Twenty20 Internationals.