The West Indies, gave fans at Bridgetown something to cheer about, after stunning Australia in the second Twenty20 International by 14 runs.
Australia, who were favourites to win the match, after easily cruising past the West Indies in the first Twenty20 International, did not look their normal, dominant selves, as their batting lineup collapsed.
Man of the Series winner, Shane Watson, was disappointed with the result, but, thought that the Australians could learn a thing or two from the series. “Today was a bit disappointing to not get the result we wanted. It’s been an up and down series and today was another learning experience” he said.
West Indian Captain, Darren Sammy, won the toss, and chose to bat first, on a surface that looked to be a batsman’s dream.
The Australian team were talking through their strategies, as the West Indies openers, Johnson Charles and Dwayne Smith, made their way to the crease.
Right from the first ball, the West Indian openers, made a quick start, hammering boundaries and holding the upper hand, while also keeping the pressure on the Australian bowlers and fielders.
Smith and Charles, entertained the crowd with their awesome hitting abilities, as they kept the runs flowing, while maintaining an excellent run rate.
The pair, soon passed posted a fifty partnership, which was warmly received by the crowds and West Indian dressing room, as they all knew how important it was to get off to a fast start.
Just as the pair took their partnership into the seventies, Australia, were rewarded with a wicket, when Charles, tried to clear the boundary rope with a huge six, but, could only find Christian at long-off, who was waiting to complete the catch.
With the opening partnership ended at 72, the Australians, pulled themselves together and increased the intensity of their fielding and bowling, which paid off almost immediately, as they dismissed Kieron Pollard, who was the danger man in the last Twenty20 International.
Pollard, who made a disappointing one run, got a delivery from Lee, that cramped him for space, and only succeeded in getting a huge nick on it, which wicketkeeper, Matthew Wade, had no problem taking.
After the dimissal of Pollard, Dwayne Smith, went on an absolute rampage, scoring 29 runs out of a 30 run partnership with Dwayne Bravo, which also brought up a brilliant maiden half century.
Smith’s fifty came off just 28 balls, after smashing a massive six off James Pattinson.
However, Smith, was dismissed soon after, as he chanced his arm one too many times, and ended up getting caught at long-on by David Hussey.
Smith, had done extremely well, scoring 63 runs from just 34 deliveries, which included six boundaries and four immense sixes.
Smith, was named the Man of the Match for his spectacular batting performance, and said: “I was pleased with the performance and glad we got a win. I’ve been doing a lot of work on my batting, doing the things I know and it seems to be working.”
Things started to become much worse for the West Indies once Smith departed, as Captain, Darren Sammy, failed to provide any major contribution, after getting an inside edge off a slower delivery from Clint Mckay, which pegged back his middle stump.
Danza Hyatt, lasted for only seven deliveries, before attempting to smah one out of the park, which only succeeded in going high into the air, as Australian Captain, George Bailey, composed himself at mid-off, and took a fine catch in the end.
Three deliveries later, Marlon Samuels, was on his way back to the paviliion, as he hit one straight to David Warner at long-off, who made no mistake with the catch whatsoever.
Dwayne Bravo, at the other end, looked absolutely shell-shocked at the batting collapse that the West Indies were going through, as he watched partner after partner walk in, and then in almost no time at all, walk back to the dressing room.
Bravo and wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh, put together a 15 run partnership, before Bravo, once again watched as his partner, this time being Baugh, get out, when he got a thick outside edge, which flew straight behind to Wade.
With the number of batting partners running low, Bravo, knew that he had to do something and quick, but, he too, succumbed to the pressure of the Australians, as he mis-timed a slog attempt, which Daniel Christian caught comfortably at long-on.
Once Bravo departed, Australia, knew that they were amongst the lower order batsmen of the West Indian batting lineup, and, wasted no time in dismissing them.
First to go, was Sunil Narine, who attempted a quick single off a push into the off side, but, was caught yards short of making his crease, from a direct throw by Australian Captain, George Bailey.
Two deliveries later, the West Indian batting innings had come to an end, after Fidel Edwards was clean bowled by an in-swinging yorker from Brett Lee, which crashed into the middle stump.
Brett Lee was the star of the Australian bowling attack, taking three wickets, while Clint Mckay and Shane Watson picked up two wickets, and Xavier Doherty and Daniel Christian both had one wicket each, in restricting the West Indians to a score of 160.
Facing a target of 161 to win, the Australian openers, Shane Watson and David Warner, looked ready to take on the challenge.
However, Watson, was dismissed on the sixth delivery of the innings, after he attempted a cut shot, which got a thick edge, that landed safely in the hands of Captain Darren Sammy at first slip.
With the early breakthrough, the West Indies, were looking to pile on the pressure, just like the Australians had done to them, during their innings.
However, David Warner and Captain George Bailey, worked well together and started to build a promising partnership.
With the Australians looking good, thanks to the solid partnership being built by Bailey and Warner, which maintained a healthy run rate.
The pair smashed the West Indian bowlers all over the ground, which brought a more and more worried look on the face of Sammy, as he knew that the pair were starting to get too comfortable at the crease.
Once the fifty partnership had been brought up, the pair looked to be unstoppable, as whatever the West Indian bowlers threw at them, looked to be easy pickings.
However, Bailey, was dismissed after making a good start to his own innings, when he was caught brilliantly by Danza Hyatt, who took a running catch at the deep square leg boundary.
Michael Hussey, joined David Warner at the crease, and the pair put together a quick 25 run partnership, in which, Warner registered his half century off only 39 balls, before, Hussey, was dismissed, after being caught and bowled by Marlon Samuels.
Warner, soon after making his half century, was dismissed himself, after being run out from a direct hit by Dwayne Bravo at mid-on, when attempting a second run.
Warner, had played a handy knock, making 58 runs off 43 balls, which included five boundaries and three massive sixes.
Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and David Hussey, made a quick 35 run partnership, before, Marlon Samuels struck again, and this time it was Wade, who was caught and bowled.
After Wade was dismissed, the collapse of the Australian batting lineup started.
Daniel Christian was the first victim, as he hit one straight to Darren Sammy at extra cover, sparking a huge celebration from the West Indies, who now knew that the lower order batsmen had been exposed.
The very next delivery, Brett Lee got an absolute peach of a delivery from Fidel Edwards, that sent his off stump cart-wheeling away, leaving Edwards on a hat-trick.
Edwards, however, was unlucky not to be rewarded with his hat-trick, as Clint Mckay managed to block the delivery.
David Hussey, being the only batsman left standing, had to throw his bat at everything, as he knew Australia still needed quite a few runs to win, but, this only succeeded in getting him out, as he was caught by Kieron Pollard at deep midwicket for 19 runs.
The very next delivery, Bravo struck again, this time, with the wicket of Clint Mckay, who was clean bowled off a slower ball.
With 17 runs needed off the final ball, Xavier Doherty only managed two runs, giving West Indies a 14 run win, while ending the series as a tie as well.
Fidel Edwards and Marlon Samuels took three wickets each, while, Dwayne Bravo, chipped in with two wickets of his own, as the West Indies completely tore through the Australian batting lineup.
Australian Captain, George Bailey, was discontent with the batting performance, but, still congratulated the West Indies on an excellent victory. “Great start from the West Indies, I think we pulled it back to about par, 160, and I thought we were on course to knock it off. They put pressure on us, the wicket of David Warner was huge, run-outs change matches. The crowd were great and hopefully we provided some good entertainment” he said.
West Indian Captain, Darren Sammy, was very pleased to end the series as a tie, and said: “We knew it was a 180-plus pitch. We tried Polly and myself up the order to try and get some momentum- that didn’t work today but we kept going. The work we’ve been doing in the camp and throughout the series has been paying off and I want to ask the boys to keep doing that. We want to keep doing well in the Tests and hopefully continue the good results.”
With the West Indies ending the two-match Twenty20 International series as a 1-1 draw, they will be looking and hoping to continue their good run of form, when they play Australia in the first Test on the 7th of April at Bridgetown, Barbados.