Visitors fall 11 runs short in high-scoring series opener
A whirlwind 70 from veteran David Warner in his 100th T20 international and an Adam Zampa masterclass has propelled Australia to a series-opening win over the West Indies in Hobart.
Needing to post the highest T20 international score at Bellerive Oval to win following Australia's record-equalling 7-213, Windies openers Johnson Charles (42 off 25) and Brandon King (53 off 37) kept pace with the required rate in the Powerplay.
But as he so often does for Australia's white-ball teams, Zampa broke the 89-run opening stand as Charles picked out Warner on the fence at square leg.
The wickets fell at regular intervals after that, as the leg-spinner finished a superb four-over spell with 3-26 as the West Indies fell 12 runs short of their target.
After being honoured pre-match as the first player to represent Australia 100 times in all three formats, Warner looked determined to replicate his feat of scoring centuries in his 100th Test and 100th one-day international as he raced to 50 from 22 balls.
The left-hander – playing his first T20 for Australia since the 2022 World Cup after missing all eight games last year – smashed 12 fours and a six in his rapid 36-ball knock.
"It was good to get some timing back, I've been working on being nice and still and balanced," Warner told Fox Cricket during the innings break.
"Tonight was one of those venues where everything takes you square so I was just conscious of trying to hit down the ground and anything back of a length trying to hit up and over square leg."
The visitors' bowlers took time to adjust to the pace of the pitch after skipper Rovman Powell elected to send Australia in, with Warner and opening partner Josh Inglis taking full advantage.
The 28-year-old West Australian again impressed at the top of the order after dominating the preceding ODI series, and with Travis Head and Steve Smith absent, the right-hander is making a strong case for a specialist batting role ahead of June's T20 World Cup.
Inglis' creative stroke play was on full display as he reverse-lapped Andre Russell before falling for 39 from 25 balls.
Inglis was the first of six Australian batters to fall to pace as captain Mitch Marsh (16), Marcus Stoinis (9) and Glenn Maxwell (10) and all came and went.
Warner also departed as Australia lost 4-30 to fall to 5-160 after 16 overs.
Tim David (37 not out off 17) and Matthew Wade (21 off 14) added some impetus at the back end of the innings on their home deck for the Hobart Hurricanes.
Russell (3-42) was the pick of the visiting bowlers but was also hit for the biggest six of the night as Stoinis was one of two batters (alongside Charles off Josh Hazlewood) to hit one out of the stadium and onto the adjacent Church St.
Jason Behrendorff went the journey in the worst first over of his T20I career with 16 coming from the opening over of the chase, before Glenn Maxwell's third over was pummelled for 17 as the visitors reached 0-72 from their six-over Powerplay, nearly matching Australia's 0-77.
Stoinis (2-20) continued his good form will the ball after returning from the South African T20 league with 10 wickets in five games to pick up King, later adding the scalp of Shai Hope (16).
Maxwell returned to make amends with the wicket of Powell, who had crashed two huge sixes into a howling breeze in his 14 off five.
With 72 required from the final five overs, the scene was set for an Andre Russell cameo but he was outfoxed by Zampa who also picked up the dangerous Nicholas Pooran (18) in the same over.
Jason Holder made sure it was a nervous finale for Sean Abbott by crashing the first ball of the last over onto the hill, but 27 off the final six balls proved an insurmountable task.
"They got a few in the last couple of overs so it was probably a little bit tighter than we needed it to be, but 'Sabba' (Abbott) came back beautifully to finish it off with a really good over in the end," David said post-match.
"It was obviously pleasing for 'Wadey' and myself to get a couple … through the middle it's important that we can get one of those partnerships, we want guys to play with freedom.
"My first game at my home ground in Australia so it was good to start off with a win."
The two sides head to Adelaide for the second T20 on Sunday.
Men's Dettol T20I Series v West Indies
February 9: Australia won the first T20I by 11 runs
February 11: Adelaide Oval, 7pm AEDT
February 13: Perth Stadium, 7pm AEDT
Australia T20I squad: Mitchell Marsh (c), Sean Abbott, Jason Behrendorff, Tim David, Aaron Hardie, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
West Indies T20I squad: Rovman Powell (c), Shai Hope, Johnson Charles, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Nicholas Pooran, Andre Russell, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Oshane Thomas