Coming to the ICC World Cup 2019, Australia and West Indies seem to have rejuvenated themselves. Six months back it was hard to believe that the two teams would be in such a positive shape of mind during the mega event. The Kangaroos, with the return of two stalwarts Steve Smith and David Warner, have emerged as one of the favourites to win the tournament again. While the West Indies are looking like a pack determined to play fearless cricket and cause some major upsets.
A balanced side with a potent bowling attack and a deep batting line-up filled with some great names of the game, Australia look like a side to beat. Also, with Smith and Warner both seeing the face of runs in the national colours right after their return, helped the team heave a sigh of relief. Steve Smith scored a fiery century in their first warm-up game against England. He batted his way to 116 in just 106 balls, signaling the resurgence of his mastery with the wood. Warner, on the other hand, spent some substantial amount of time at the middle against Afghanistan in the first league. He scored a gritty 89 and remained not out to see his team through.
However, it will be interesting to see how the middle and lower-middle order performs against the stern challenge that will be thrown by the Windies pacers. “It is obviously going to be a tactic of theirs and a plan. We will be as well prepared as we can be. We’re well and truly prepared, no doubt,” Cricket.com.au quoted Finch as saying. The Australian skipper reminded that during their warm-up game the Windies bowler came up with a similar plan and got away. But this time the Australians would be up for the challenge as they have been preparing accordingly in the nets, said Finch.
On the other hand, no other team in this World Cup have looked as complete as West Indies. In one of the warm-up matches, the Windies batted their way to 421 against a good New Zealand bowling attack, while in their first league game their bowlers bundled Pakistan for 105 in less than 22 overs. Young blood of Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmeyer and Nicholas Pooran added with the experience of Chris Gayle and muscle power of Andre Russel, the Caribbean possess one of the most versatile batting line-ups in this tournament. Given how the pace of Oshane Thomas and tight length of Jason Holder rattled Pakistan, the bowlers can also be not left behind. However, Australian batsmen are a different breed in comparison to their Pakistani counterparts and so how the likes of Thomas and Sheldon Cottrell performs against them would be key for deciding the Windies fate in their second game of ICC World Cup 2019.