Brave West Indies go down fighting to Australia

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- The West Indies put in a brilliant effort against Australia on Saturday, but came out on the losing end by 50 runs in the ICC Champions Trophy Group A match at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Saturday.

West Indies won the toss and elected to field on a green pitch which offered assistance to the bowers throughout the day. The Windies bowlers did a very good job in the early stages and had the Aussies at one stage 171-7, but they recovered to make a challenging 275-8 off their 50 overs.

The key batsman was left-hander Mitchell Johnson, who cracked 73 not out to win the Man-of-the-Match award. In reply West Indies batted with resolve and purpose to make 225 off 46.5 overs.

Opener Andre Fletcher hit a career-best 54 from 77 balls, with four boundaries and a six, while Travis Dowlin made 55 off 87 balls with five fours. The pair added 86 for the second wicket and while they were at the wicket the Windies looked capable of pulling off a win.

After the match, captain Floyd Reifer lauded his players for the brave effort but said he would have loved a victory over the defending champions and reigning World Cup champions.

“We had Australia 170-odd for seven but the game was taken away from us in the last 10 overs. Mitchell Johnson played a very good innings. Chasing 275 and being 124-2, I thought we had a good chance to win the game. But we needed one of our top batsmen to carry on… it’s probably a little bit of inexperience. We are learning and learning quickly. To score 230 odd on a pitch like that against Australia is a good effort, but it would have been great to pull off a win,” Reifer said.

Earlier in the day left-arm spin bowler Nikita Miller continued his fine showing in this tournament. He took 2-24 from 10 overs, with the key wicket of Ricky Ponting, who was smartly stumped by keeper Chadwick Walton.