Bridgetown: Australia displayed the composure and assurance of world champions to chase down a target of 283 and advance to the final with a six-wicket victory over the West Indies in the seventh match of the Tri-Nation One-Day International Series at Kensington Oval in Barbados on Tuesday.
Marlon Samuels’ first-ever hundred against Australia and a record-breaking partnership with Denesh Ramdin lifted the West Indies to a competitive 282 for eight batting first. But half-centuries by captain Steven Smith and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, together with a quickfire unbeaten 46 from Glenn Maxwell ensured that the target was reached with eight balls to spare.
West Indies and South Africa will now meet in the last preliminary match on Friday with the winners to face the Aussies in Sunday’s final. Smith and Marsh steadied Australia’s effort following the loss of three early wickets with a 122-run fourth-wicket partnership that set the World Cup-holders back on course. However, when Smith was run out for 78 in the 42nd over, any hopes the West Indies had of claiming the victory that would have eliminated Australia were extinguished by Maxwell.
Displaying his full range of unorthodox shots, he crashed five fours and two sixes off just 26 balls to banish any lingering anxiety among his teammates.