Warner, Starc star as Australia beat West Indies by 31 runs

Brisbane (AFP): An explosive David Warner slammed 75 and Mitchell Starc grabbed four wickets as Australia beat the West Indies by 31 runs Friday to clinch the Twenty20 series 2-0 in the build-up to defending their World Cup title.

The home team were cruising at 95-1, but they lost three wickets for five runs, including Warner, as the visitors got back into contention. The dangerous Tim David came to the rescue with an entertaining 42 off 20 balls, including three big sixes, to steer them to 178-7.

“It was a fantastic all round performance and well executed by the bowlers. At the halfway mark we had discussed about bowling Test match lines and lengths, and they nailed them,” said man-of-the-match Warner. Skipper Aaron Finch added: “The difference in the game was Davey and David.”

The hosts clinched the first match by three wickets, and the West Indies wanted a win in what was their last game before the World Cup, where they face Scotland in the preliminary round first-up on October 17. But they managed just 147-8 in reply, with Starc taking 4-20, his best figures in a T20.

“Tough to lose, but they played better cricket,” said West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran. “We are getting accustomed to the conditions, putting our ego aside and working on the team plans.” They had few answers to Warner, who punished anything short at the Gabba in Brisbane, hitting 10 fours and three sixes in his 41-ball blitz.

Finch was on the teamsheet to open alongside Warner after coming in at four in the first game, but after Australia were sent into bat it was Cameron Green who again strode to the crease. And for a second match, the all-rounder failed to fire, out for one.

Finch was first drop as Australia continue to experiment ahead of the World Cup, and he was content to play second-fiddle to Warner. After smacking two boundaries in the opening over, Warner barely put a foot wrong as he raced to his 23rd T20 half-century, bringing up the milestone off 30 balls.

They reached 88-1 — 68 of them from Warner — at the halfway mark, but the visitors pounced soon after with both players falling within six balls. Finch was caught at mid-off by Rovman Powell off Obed McCoy for 15, snapping an 85-run partnership, then Warner departed caught and bowled by Odean Smith. Glenn Maxwell’s poor run of form continued, run out for one as Australia stumbled to 100-4, losing three wickets for five runs. But David steadied the ship with his quick-fire 42.

After hitting 20 off the first four balls of a McCoy over, he was finally trapped lbw.
The West Indies’ chase started poorly with Kyle Mayers out in the first over to a reflex catch by Starc off his own bowling.

Australia’s quality attack bowled 21 dot balls in the first five overs before the West Indies lashed 16 off Green to get themselves moving.

But Brandon King (23), Pooran (2) and Johnson Charles (29) all fell in the space of 17 runs to leave them trouble at 76-4 after 11 overs and they never recovered.