Samuels’ classy 100 fails to deny Aussies
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
A classy century from Marlon Samuels was overshadowed by a gutsy run chase which powered Australia to a pulsating six-wicket victory over West Indies and into the finals of the Tri-Nations series at Kensington Oval yesterday.
Samuels, his first One-Day International (ODI) century against Australia, blasted 125 in a record-breaking fourth wicket century partnership with Denesh Ramdin as West Indies piled up a formidable total of 282 for eight off 50 overs.
However, half centuries from captain Steve Smith (78) and Mitchell Marsh (79 not out) and a late shot filled cameo from Glenn Maxwell (46 not out), kept the Aussies in the game and ensured they escaped elimination from the triangular series by reaching the target with eight balls remaining.
West Indies now face South Africa in a do-or-die match to decide the team to join Australia in Sunday's finals.
Samuels and Ramdin, who batted impressively but fell nine runs short of his third ODI century, compiled 192 runs, and the best fourth wicket stand in all ODIs between the two teams.
Samuels has become the tenth West Indian player to reach 5,000 ODI runs while Ramdin registered his eighth ODI half century.
Sent in to bat, West Indies plunged to a precarious 31 for three wickets at the start of the ninth over after Mitchell Starc removed openers Johnson Charles without scoring and Andre Fletcher for nine.
Darren Bravo's less than impressive run in the series continued when Josh Hazlewood found the edge of his bat for Smith to take a catch diving full-stretch to his right.
West Indies were in an extremely shaky position when Ramdin joined Samuels who, in the space of two overs, smashed 29 runs from the bowlers to ease his team back into contention.
Samuels, who was dropped on 65, was on fire hitting 14 boundaries and two sixes from the 134 balls he faced while inspiring a change of fortunes in West Indies innings.
Likewise, Ramdin's innings of 91, posted in 92 balls was a brilliant stroke-filled display punctuated by five fours and three sixes.
Ramdin punished Starc by hitting him for two successive sixes and a distinct hallmark of his partnership with Samuels was their running between the wickets and calculated risks taken.
Samuels batted throughout the innings until he sliced a catch to Marsh off the last ball of the final over of the innings.
Starc finished with top figures of three for 51.