Having defeated South Africa by 36-runs in their previous match on Saturday, Australia will be confident of inching closer to the final spot when they take on hosts West Indies in the fifth match of the series on Monday at Basseterre. In their previous match, the Aussies had been thrashed by 47 runs by the Proteas. But, they fought back well to take revenge. Overall, they have been the most impressive of all sides, having defeated West Indies will ease in their first match. The West Indies have been a mixed bag with one win and one loss, and will be keen to get back to winning ways.
Australia have been dealt a big blow with David Warner being ruled out of the series due to injury. The Aussie opener has been among the most consistent batsmen for the team in the series. He got a match-winning hundred against South Africa on Saturday, and in the previous win against the West Indies he had a fifty to his name. Warner’s loss will leave a big gap at the top of the order, and it remains to be seen how the Aussies deal with his absence. The match will also give a good indication of how heavily dependent the team is on Warner.
Apart from Warner, Usman Khawaja and Steven Smith also chipped in with fifties, so the Aussies do have other form batsmen. With Warner out, there will be additional responsibility on Khawaja and Smith to deliver. Aaron Finch may have failed in the last game, but he too has been consistent for the team. With no Warner, Glenn Maxwell may get a chance to prove his worth again, but he must perform to stay in the team. Runs will also be expected from George Bailey and Mitchell Marsh.
Australia have done very well with the ball too. Mitchell Marsh has made an excellent comeback, with wickets regular wickets, and big ones at that too. He has been well supported by Josh Hazlewood too, who continues to pick up scalps at regular intervals. James Faulker and Mitchell Marsh, the two all-rounders, have not a lot with the ball, so they will be keen to make an impression. But, Adam Zampa has made a series impact in the series, and Australia would be extremely pleased with his efforts. The ODI experiment with Nathan Lyon too has been a success.
West Indies batted terribly in the last match against Australia, managing merely 116. The seniors in the team will need to stand up and deliver for the team. A lot will be expected of the likes of Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Denesh Ramdin and Kieron Pollard, if West Indies want to stand up to the Aussie challenge. Of course, a good start from Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher will help. In the bowling, a lot will again depend on Sunil Narine, who was terrific against South Africa, and did well versus Australia as well in a losing cause.
--By A Cricket Analyst