A career-best performance from all-rounder Mitchell Marsh helped Australia to their maiden victory in the ongoing T20I series against West Indies on Thursday. Marsh lit up the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in St Lucia with both bat and ball in the 4th T20I to assist his side to avoid the series whitewash.
Opting to bat first, the visitors posted 189/6 on the scoreboard in their allotted 20 overs, thanks to crucial knocks by captain Aaron Finch and star of the night Marsh. The duo put together a vital 114-run partnership for the second wicket – Australia’s 10th largest stand in T20Is.
While Finch scored 53 off 37 balls with the help of five fours and three sixes, Marsh stunned with 75 from 44 deliveries – his highest individual score in the shortest format at the international level. The Western Australian smashed 10 boundaries, including 6 sixes, during his breathtaking knock.
However, Australia’s middle-order again disappointed as they ended up losing four wickets for 20 runs following Finch’s dismissal. Alex Carey was sent back on the duck while Moises Henriques and Ashton Turner were removed for six runs each. Senior T20 specialist Daniel Christian provided some late fireworks, scoring 22 off 14 balls to take Australia’s total to 189/6.
In reply, the hosts started pretty well after Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis added 62 runs for the opening wicket. But Marsh and Adam Zampa came for the rescue and completely turned the game on its head.
Marsh claimed three wickets for 24 in his quota of 4 overs, including the 16th over, where he picked up two wickets in two balls to shift the momentum towards the visiting side. Zampa, on the other hand, bagged a couple for 20 in 4 overs.
The Nicholas Pooran-led side needed 36 off the last two overs, and Andre Russell and Fabian Allen sent shockwaves to the Aussie unit by hitting four maximums to Riley Meredith, who came to bowl the penultimate over. But eventually, the home team fell four runs short of the target as experienced lad Mitchell Starc showed all his experience in the final over to make sure Australia defend 189 runs.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
It might not have seemed the most natural swap 10 days back, but Mitchell Marsh might be the perfect replacement that Australia never considered before for Steve Smith at No 3 in case he does opt out of the T20 World Cup #WIvAUS
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) July 15, 2021
Absolutely brilliant final over from Starc. That’s going to lift Australia’s spirits. Still a lot of serious work to do but definitely an improvement. #WIvAUS
— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) July 15, 2021
Career-best with the bat 🏏 75 off 44
Career-best with the ball ☝️ 3/24 off 4.0
— ICC (@ICC) July 15, 2021
Starc could not have bowled a better last over to one of the most dangerous hitters in the world. Brilliant. #WIvAUS
— Luke D'Anello (@LukeDAnello) July 15, 2021
Aussie Aussie Aussie! Australia wins by 4 runs. Ripper final over by Starcy! I didn't take my hands away from my mouth the whole time. And special mention for Mitch Marsh who played a fantastic match. Good on ya Aussies. #WIvAUS
— Chloe-Amanda Bailey (@ChloeAmandaB) July 15, 2021
Put these last two overs in the Louvre. Modern surrealist art section #WIvAus
— Daniel Brettig (@danbrettig) July 15, 2021
50 & 3 – Mitchell Marsh is the first Australian to score 50 runs and take three wickets in a single men's T20I since Glenn Maxwell against England in February 2017 (103 runs, 3 wickets). Tradie.#WIvAUS https://t.co/7wPY99uyZE
— OptaJason (@OptaJason) July 15, 2021
Top class cricket that. World most dangerous six-hitter head-to-head against the best white-ball bowler of the generation in the final over. Terrific bowling from Starc. What a bowler!!!#WIvAUS
— Deepu Narayanan (@deeputalks) July 15, 2021
A half-century and three wickets in men's T20I for Australia
— Andrew McGlashan (@andymcg_cricket) July 15, 2021
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) July 15, 2021
— CricketTimes.com (@CricketTimesHQ) July 15, 2021
Australia defeats West Indies by 4 runs, an excellent performance by Aussies firstly with the bat. Aaron Finch and Mitchell Marsh in particular batted tremendously well, Marsh picked 3 wickets as well. WI came very close to the target in the final over, but Starc did the job. pic.twitter.com/WSZT6HGOzX
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) July 15, 2021
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) July 15, 2021