Both teams are flying high on confidence after comprehensive wins in their respective campaign openers. Windies were ruthless in their seven-wicket win over Pakistan at the same venue a few days ago while the Aussies were clinical in their crushing win over Afghanistan by the same margin.
AUSSIE PREPARE FOR WINDIES BOUNCER BARRAGE
While all the talk about West Indies coming into the tournament had been about their power-packed batting unit, it was their pacers who stole the limelight in the thrashing of Pakistan at Trent Bridge.
It was a hostile show of short-pitched bowling by Windies against the Men in Green who folded for a mere 105. At the heart of that brute show were Oshane Thomas (4-27) and star all-rounder Andre Russell (2-4) with Pakistan’s batsmen blown away by the barrage of bouncers.
That is the threat that Australia will need to be wary of on Thursday and it is one that coach Justin Langer has already taken note of. The Aussies are currently on a nine-match winning run but it is important to remember that they have exclusively played against spin-heavy subcontinent sides during the stretch.
“We talked this morning about how we’ve probably spent months thinking and playing against spin bowling,” Langer stated on the eve of the game.
“We have to change. We’ve seen in this tournament that there has been some good, fast bowling so far. We have to adapt to West Indies no doubt who have got a number of good, fast bowlers.”
BALANCED AUSSIES VS POWER-PACKED WINDIES
There is little to choose between the two respective batting units with both bringing something different to the table. The Australians have a formidable batting unit containing plenty of variety with the likes of David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja in tow.
While Warner and Finch are capable to taking the attack to the opposition, Smith and Khawaja are more than capable of anchoring the innings while the likes of Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell can provide the fireworks in the death overs.
Windies, on the other hand, know mostly one way to bat and that is all-out attack. They gave a glimpse of their power-hitting prowess by amassing 421 against New Zealand in their warm-up game and have two of the most explosive batsmen in white-ball cricket in the form of Chris Gayle and Andre Russell. Throw in an in-form Shai Hope into the mix and Windies are starting to looking like real contenders for the World Cup.
There could a sumptuous run feast on offer with these two batting units should the Trent Bridge wicket live up to its reputation of being a batsman’s paradise.
Australia: Aaron Finch (c), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Alex Carey (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc.
West Indies: Chris Gayle, Shai Hope (wk), Darren Bravo, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Andre Russell, Jason Holder (c), Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas.
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