I was rather excited yesterday until the television feed from Bridgetown showed a cloudy and slightly wet field.
Patiently waiting and over dosed on Milo, as were the crowd for the first International Twenty20 to hit the West Indies shores, the players eventually came on after a 2 hour delay.
Aussie, losing the toss, with openers Shaun Marsh (hitting his way to 29) and Luke Ronchi (who cruised to 36) kicked into attack mode from ball one.
The two kicked us off to a flying start. After 2 overs I thought they were playing risky cricket, then I realised the overs had been reduced to 11 per side.
In all honesty, I was disappointed. That reduction does turn the game into a ‘hit and giggle’ contest.
Ricky Ponting, who I’d liked to have seen bat, promoted his younger and newer players to face the West Indies bowlers.
Shane Watson made a return to International cricket scoring 17 not out and his bowling figures of 1/17 in 2.1 overs.
In the end the total was 97. The stage was set and despite the poor weather and unfortunate amount of overs, there had been plenty excitement. A terrific last over from Dwayne Bravo restricted the score to fewer than 100.
Ponting and co. were taken by surprise as Xavier Marshall (who made 85 in the last Test innings) powered his team to a smell of victory with his 36 off only 15 balls.
Dwayne Bravo returned to the field and played a captains role in scoring 28 and strategically led his side home with 2 overs to spare.
The defining moment was a shocking over from Mitchell Johnson, the second of the innings, where over 20 runs were conceded. From there the West Indies batsman just kept to required rate.
But with only 11 overs, it’s not fair to point fingers at Johnson, but on a realistic judgement that was the moment of a momentum power drive to the Windies.
So not quite what the supporters and people of the Carribean wanted as a whole, but they did get a victory which on the positive side will keep interest active as we go into the 5 match ODI series.
The 50 over format will push the Windies to the limit, possibly a lot further than the test matches.
With Symonds, Bracken and Haddin, hopefully stepping into the squad for the first game (aside from the ODI warm up against a local side today) and Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey and Shane Watson in the mix, the side will have that strong depth to relive some of those World Cup 2007 memories.
Shaun Marsh, who you will know from the IPL tournament, seems to be the right man to fill the void in Matthew Hayden’s absence and with Stuart Clark (Glen McGrath’s shadow figure) in the bowling mix too and all-rounder James Hopes, the squad is a great one to ensure the West Indies will use their players wisely and play some hard, competitive cricket!
The last act of the West Indies tour 2008 is here.
50 over format, the World Champions back on the soil they lifted the ICC World Cup Trophy with plenty great players in the rankings against a younger, more youthful Windies side…without being biased I’d be putting my money on Australia.
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