Australia vs West Indies: 1st T20I Preview and Prediction
These two powerhouse nations of the 20-over format will be locking horns for a three-match series for the preparations of the World Cup scheduled in June. Tasmania’s only international cricketing venue, Bellerive Oval of Hobart will be hosting the opening fixture this Friday.
Mitchell Marsh will be returning to take over the reins of the T20 roster from Matthew Wade who held the charge in his absence against India. After making his captaincy debut against South Africa in September 2023, this is going to be the first home assignment for the Australian first-choice skipper. The likes of David Warner, Josh Hazlewood and Adam Zampa are also making their returns after missing out on the India tour.
The visitors have made only a single change in the squad which took the battlefield against England for the last two fixtures. Alzarri Joseph who was rested for the second half of the England series has returned to the Windies roster replacing young speedster Matthew Forde. Meanwhile, the seasoned middle-order batter Shimron Hetmyer remains dropped after a series of poor performances across the white-ball formats.
What have they done so far?
Australia’s last T20I appearance was back in November 2023 right after their ODI World Cup triumph on Indian soil. It was a five-match series where the Kangaroos utilized their squad depth by promoting new faces to the main roster. The visitors staged a comeback in the Third T20I after losing the first two but it was a short-lived success as the Men in Blue triumphed in the latter two games to clinch the series by 4-1.
Meanwhile, the Windies hosted the reigning world champions England for a thrilling five-match contest in which they eventually emerged victorious by 3-2. Men in Maroon almost bottled the series from 2-0 to 2-2 after the fourth game and could only get a hold of the silverware after winning the decider clash in Tarouba. It was also the final 20-over campaign on home soil for the two-time world champions before hosting the upcoming edition of the T20 World Cup.
Head to Head Record
The battlefield always lit up with fire whenever these two giant nations squared off for the 20-over face-off. The head-to-head record gives testimony of this rivalry as it currently stands in the favor of Windies by 10-9 from 19 face-offs.
After registering their maiden bilateral victory over the Caribbean in February, the Aussies had to wait for years to replicate the same prowess. They finally ended the 13-year halt in October 2023 by overpowering the Men in Maroon with a clean sweep 2-0 win at home.
Australia faced difficulties while chasing 146 runs in the opening game at Carrara but sustained the winning momentum in the following match convincingly. The veteran Oz opener David Warner who played a marvelous innings of 75 runs at the 183 was conferred with the Player of the Series honor.
Glenn Maxwell (Australia): Over the years, Maxi has earned himself an aura of being one of the most dangerous players on the planet when it comes to the shortest format. It was the majesty of his incredible knock of unbeaten 104 off 48 balls single-handedly that chased down the mighty target of 226 against India and brought them back into the series.
The 35-year-old explosive batter is also in search of his fifth T20I century after being overtaken by Rohit Sharma a couple of weeks ago.
Andre Russell (West Indies): The veteran all-rounder counting the final days of his T20I career proved against England that he still has plenty of furious play left in him. We witnessed a vintage glimpse of ‘Dre Russ’ during the 4th T20I when he struck 51 runs in just 25 balls.
Moreover, he also finished the five-match saga with 7 wickets under his helm which was the highest individual tally for the home team.
Predicted Playing XI
Australia: Travis Head, Matthew Short, Josh Inglis (wk), Mitchell Marsh ©, Glenn Maxwell, Tim David, Marcus Stoinis, Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa, Jason Behrendorff, Josh Hazlewood
West Indies: Brandon King, Johnson Charles, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Shai Hope, Sherfane Rutherford, Rovman Powell ©, Andre Russell, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Gudakesh Motie, Alzarri Joseph
Windies bravely drew the Test series but could not manage to compete when the caravan moved towards the one-day internationals. The home advantage and return of the key players is providing a huge advantage to the home side that previously prevailed in the longer format. Hence, it is highly speculated that Australia will not only win this opening but will also claim the series trophy later on.