Australia 213 for 7 (Warner 70, David 37*) beat West Indies 202 for 8 (King 53, Charles 42, Zampa 3-26) by 11 runs
David Warner smashed a half-century in his 100th T20I before legspinner Adam Zampa starred with three wickets as Australia held off a barnstorming chase from a full-strength West Indies in the series-opener at Bellerive Oval.
After being sent in, Australia dominated the bookends in an equal-record T20I score in Hobart with Warner cracking 70 off 36 deliveries and Tim David hitting a 17-ball 37.
Chasing 214, West Indies were on track with openers Brandon King and Johnson Charles smashing a half-century partnership inside four overs. But Zampa bowled superbly in the middle-overs to outfox an ultra-aggressive West Indies, who fell short.
The three-match series effectively starts T20 World Cup preparations for both teams with game two to be played in Adelaide on Sunday.
Audition for Inglis, Warner stars in milestone
Warner is essentially a lock for the T20 World Cup, which will be his international cricket swansong. But the race is on to find his opening partner with Josh Inglis getting first crack having impressed at the top of the order in the ODI series.
Playing in his 16th T20I, Inglis opened for the first time having made a century in India late last year batting at No.3. With Matthew Wade taking the gloves, Inglis played as a specialist batter and was an onlooker initially as Warner flayed the new ball.
Inglis never quite found his timing but still showed his 360-degree range to make 39 off 25 balls. He started by giving himself room to smash left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein through the off-side in a favoured stroke.
His best stroke was a clever reverse lap scoop off Andre Russell to showcase his cavalier batting before unfurling a full-blooded pull shot in a reminder that his game was honed on bouncy WACA pitches.
Inglis fell to a slower delivery from Jason Holder, who had earlier been targeted by a rampaging Warner. Having struggled on sluggish UAE pitches in the ILT20, Warner enjoyed the faster surface as he raced to his half-century off 22 balls. But he slowed down after the wicket of Inglis before falling to a slower Alzarri Joseph delivery in the 13th over.
After electing to bowl, captain Rovman Powell had hoped for early inroads on a grassy surface, but his attack struggled to threaten with the new ball.
West Indies were stacked with allrounders and Joseph was their only bowler with genuine speed. And his extra pace accounted for Mitchell Marsh, who played despite testing positive for Covid-19, and kick-started a West Indies fightback.
Their seamers took the pace off in the backend with slower balls accounting for several wickets as Australia’s big-hitters attempted to clear the ground. But they were hapless at the death against David as Australia finished with a flurry.
West Indies’ strategy of relying on slower deliveries seems fraught with danger on harder Australian pitches, but appears a blueprint for the expected slower surfaces at their home World Cup. They will want to address their sloppy fielding mired by a couple of dropped catches and misfields.
West Indies’ big-hitters go for broke
West Indies’ batting-order barely fired a shot in the ODI series, but they were beefed up by a slew of powerful batters. King and Charles were both unavailable due to T20 franchise cricket commitments, but were welcomed back with open arms as they slaughtered the new ball.
They started quickly and in the third over bludgeoned Glenn Maxwell’s offspin for 17 runs. Even the normally miserly Josh Hazlewood was monstered by Charles for a huge six out of the ground which required a replacement ball.
But Charles holed out to Zampa in the ninth over while King reached a half-century off 36 deliveries, but fell on the next ball attempting to hit Marcus Stoinis for six on the leg-side. West Indies continued to go the aerial route, but fell away despite a late onslaught from Holder.
Australia’s frontline pace attack is obviously settled, but intrigue surrounds which other quicks will be selected for the World Cup. After starring last year, including a breakout IPL, left-arm quick Jason Behrendorff is in the mix and he was selected for this series with Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc rested.
But the windy conditions made it difficult for Behrendroff to generate his trademark swing and he was whacked for 16 runs in the first over. He claimed the late wicket of Romario Shepherd to finish with 1 for 38 off 3 overs.
It was left to Zampa to steady Australia and he produced a brilliant 16th over to claim the wickets of Russell and Nicholas Pooran which closed the door on West Indies. (ESPN Cricinfo)