Windies aim to break 17-year jinx
GROS ISLET, St Lucia, CMC – Already assured of at least a share of the spoils in the five-match series, West Indies say they will be going for the jugular against Australia in the final Digicel One-Day International on Sunday.
The Windies comprehensively outplayed and beat the Aussies by 42 runs in Friday’s fourth ODI to take an unassailable 2-1 lead in the series, and are now focussed on pulling off their first series win over the visitors in 17 years.
Since the sensational victory, the country has been abuzz with excitement over the prospects of a series win for the home team and not even intermittent mid-afternoon showers here Saturday could dampen the anticipation.
And with self-belief in the squad soaring at the moment, batsman Kieron Pollard believes West Indies can climax the competitive series on a winning note.
“We will try to win the series 3-1. We are already up 2-1 and we cannot lose the series but we want to finish with a win. We have worked really hard to get here and we want to go all the way. The job is not yet done,” said Pollard, whose 70-ball 102 was the catalyst of the Windies’ victory on Friday.
“A series win against a higher ranked team like Australia would be great, not only for the players, but also for the fans who come out and support us. Hopefully on Sunday, we can go out there and do the job for each and every one of them. Their support means a lot to us.”
West Indies have played before packed stadiums in the last three matches and it has made a huge difference. Having lost the first match at Arnos Vale in St Vincent by 64 runs, the Windies rebounded to win the second at the same venue last Sunday by five wickets.
The final ODI of the tripleheader ended in a dramatic tie after the hosts came back from a near hopeless position.
Pollard said West Indies were bracing for everything the Aussies would throw their way and planned to hit back just as hard.
“The Australians have come pretty hard at us, but one good thing is that we have not backed down,” the big-hitting Trinidadian said.
“Every time they come at us we hit right back at them. The fans and the public are behind us, backing us, and when we show that we are not going to back down, no matter what, it shows that we have a strength in the team, a belief in ourselves and what we can do.”
Meanwhile, Australia captain Shane Watson said his side needed to improve for the final match if they were to avoid a series defeat.
The world’s top-ranked team, the Aussies have struggled against a generally disciplined West Indies attack while their bowling has wilted under determined batting from the home side.
Watson admitted that his bowlers had not bowled to plan against the Windies batsmen in the fourth ODI as the hosts rattled up a very competitive 294 for seven.
“There was definitely a bit of individual brilliance from Kieron Pollard, there’s no doubt about that. His striking was very impressive,” Watson lamented.
“But there’s no doubt it’s not good enough for us. We didn’t execute enough, didn’t go to the plan to be able to make sure we were able to try and restrict him as much as we could.”
He stressed: “We’ve got to sit down and make sure we get it right for the next game because we can’t afford to be in the position that we were and then let Kieron get away the way we did.
“In the end it meant we were chasing a much bigger total than we should have been.”
Australia will stick with their XI from the last ODI, with the Windies expected to also remain with their winning team.
West Indies – Darren Sammy (captain), Johnson Charles, Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Carlton Baugh, Andre Russell, Tino Best, Sunil Narine, Devendra Bishoo, Kemar Roach.
Australia – Shane Watson (captain), George Bailey, Dan Christian, Xavier Doherty, Peter Forrest, Peter Nevill, Ben Hilfenhaus, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Brett Lee, Nathan Lyon, Clint McKay, James Pattinson, Matthew Wade, David Warner.