West Indies v Australia T20Is - Men's
Epic Aussie collapse hands Windies victory in first T20
Australia lose their last six wickets for just 19 runs to be bowled out 18 short in the first T20 in St Lucia
Louis Cameron at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, St Lucia
10 July 2021, 06:00 PM AEST
An inexplicable Australian batting collapse has seen the West Indies draw first blood in their five-match T20 series as the hosts recorded a remarkable comeback victory following a jaw-dropping Andre Russell cameo.
Left-arm quick Obed McCoy's somersaulting catch off his own bowling was the highlight in a stunning implosion of 7-38 from the visitors that handed the Windies an 18-run victory.
Russell (51 off 28 balls) hit fives sixes including two out of the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in an incredible display of power-hitting that singlehandedly turned an otherwise lacklustre Windies batting effort into a competitive score of 6-145.
A career-best 51 off 31 from Mitch Marsh on the back of Matthew Wade's quickfire 33 off 14 (including three sixes) had the visitors flying at more than 10 runs an over early in the chase.
But the loss of regular wickets left their tail with too much to do, with the new-look middle-order quartet of Josh Philippe (1), Moises Henriques (16 off 8), Ben McDermott (2 off 6) and Dan Christian (10 off 12) all failing to stay the course.
McCoy's astonishing caught-and-bowled off Ashton Agar (1) all but sealed the Windies win, with leg-spinner Hayden Walsh (3-23) also instrumental in the comeback that was cheered vociferously under lights by a modest crowd.
Having been 3-70 at the end of the six-over Powerplay, the Australians lost their last six wickets for just 19 runs, including their last five in just 21 balls, to be bowled out for 127.
After his first over had cost 17, McCoy (4-26 from four overs) took the game-sealing wicket of Hazlewood to spark rapturous celebrations.
The Australians have less than 24 hours to re-group before the second match of the series starts at 9.30am AEST on Sunday.
Armed with the knowledge that seven of the past eight T20Is at this ground had been won by the team batting second, Australia smashed five sixes and lost three wickets inside the first six overs in an action-packed start to their innings.
After Aaron Finch was caught at cover for just four, Wade popped Russell over backward square twice in a 14-run first over for the allrounder before the Jamaican had the last laugh by having Wade caught on the deep-point boundary.
Henriques carted his first two balls for six off McCoy as Marsh continued the fireworks, but the Western Australian's exit to Walsh to leave the score 6-117 was the first sign of the carnage to follow.
It was far cry from Australia's earlier dominance after Finch had elected to bowl first.
Josh Hazlewood exploited variable bounce in a terrific new-ball burst to claim the wickets of Evin Lewis (second-ball duck) and Chris Gayle as he conceded just three runs from his opening three overs.
Even after conceding a last-ball six from Dwayne Bravo, Hazlewood returned the equal sixth most economical four-over spell in men's T20Is by an Australian.
Dropped on five by Henriques, Russell made the Aussies pay by blasting five sixes in a breathtaking knock that was, surprisingly, just his first T20 International half-century.
His teammates offered little support as Lendl Simmons (27 off 28), Shimron Hetmyer (20 off 25) and Gayle (four off 10) all struggled against a tight bowling effort led by Hazlewood, Marsh (2-26 off four) and recalled veteran Christian (0-10 off two overs).
Missing skipper Kieron Pollard due to a hamstring concern, the Windies' woes were summed up by the stand-in captain Nicholas Pooran's run out.
A strong lbw shout from Starc against Shimron Hetmyer caused confusion, with non-striker Pooran backing up too far and Philippe swooping in with a direct hit.
The third umpire confirmed Pooran's fate, but he had to wait while the lbw was considered given Finch had also signalled for a review.
Gayle's lean run since returning to international cricket continued as Hazlewood worked him over, with the Australian securing the wicket via a top-edged pull shot after the left-hander had scored from just one of his 10 deliveries.
The regular opener, who is now batting at No.3, has 89 runs at 12.71 from eight T20I innings this year, and his strike-rate of 94.68 in that time is giving the Windies' middle order a significant handicap.
Qantas Tour of the West Indies 2021
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Wes Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Dan Christian, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa. Travelling reserves: Nathan Ellils, Tanveer Sangha.
West Indies T20 squad: Kieron Pollard (c), Nicholas Pooran (vc), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Kevin Sinclair, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr
T20 series (all matches at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, St Lucia)
First T20: West Indies won by 18 runs
Second T20: July 11, 9.30am AEST (July 10, 7.30pm local)
Third T20: July 13, 9.30am AEST (July 12, 7.30pm local)
Fourth T20: July 15, 9.30am AEST (July 14, 7.30pm local)
Fifth T20: July 17, 9.30am AEST (July 16, 7.30pm local)
ODI series (all matches at Kensington Oval, Barbados)
First ODI (D/N): July 21, 4.30am AEST (July 20, 2.30pm local)
Second ODI (D/N): July 23, 4.30am AEST (July 22, 2.30pm local)
Third ODI (D/N): July 25, 4.30am AEST (July 24, 2.30pm local)
* Details of five-match T20 tour of Bangladesh are yet to be announced by the Bangladesh Cricket Board. Tours are subject to agreement on bio-security arrangements and relevant government approvals.