West Indies drew level 1-1 in their One-day International series against Australia, after Nicholas Pooran and Jason Holder hit half-centuries and anchored them to a four-wicket victory.
Pooran led the way with an unbeaten 59 from 75 balls and earned the Player-of-the-Match award, and Holder made 52 from 69 balls, and the Windies successfully chased 188 for victory in the reconvened second ODI under the lights at Kensington Oval on Saturday.
The pair shared a record 93 for the seventh wicket to revive the Caribbean side after they stumbled to 72 for five in the 15th over.
Holder became the last of three wickets for lanky left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc when he was lbw in the 35th over with 23 needed, but Alzarri Joseph remained with Pooran to take the home team over the finish line and formalised the result with a four to deep mid-wicket off spinner Ashton Turner.
The result earned West Indies a crucial 10 points in the race to automatically qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 India and they also boosted their net run-rate having finished the match with 72 balls remaining.
The Windies moved past Ireland into a tie with Pakistan for fifth place on the Super League points table at 40 points and Australia remain in third place on 50.
The final match of the series will be contested on Monday at Kensington Oval, starting at 2:30 p.m.
“It’s pleasing to win,” West Indies captain Kieron Pollard said. “Obviously, when you start a cricket match you want to win, but to say I’m overall pleased with our performance throughout the entire game, I think we have some work to do.
“Having Australia (45 for 6) and they get 190, I thought we didn’t put our foot (down). They getting to 190, we gave them an opportunity to come into the game. Our batters didn’t make it easy as well. It seems like we don’t like to do things the easy way.”
On Pooran and Holder, he added: “What was good this time around was the fight by the guys. Pooran getting that half-century and Jason Holder as well.
“Pooran has been looking like his old self again. He was a bit scratchy, but sometimes that’s what you need in a game like this. You want someone to scrap, and I think they both scrapped well for us to come through for a victory.”
Earlier, the Windies bowlers – led by left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein – helped them dominate the first half of the match, which resumed after it was abruptly suspended without a ball bowled this past Thursday because “a non-playing member of the Windies staff” tested positive for COVID-19.
Hosein extracted sharp turn from the pitch and ended with the impressive figures of three for 30 from 10 overs – and the Aussies were bowled out for 187 in 47.1 overs, after they fulfilled their previously taken decision to bat.
Pacer Alzarri Joseph grabbed three for 39 from 8.1 overs and left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell snared two for 29 from eight overs.
The pacers carved up Australia’s top order before Hosein ripped out the middle order with the scalps of stand-in captain Alex Carey, Moises Henriques and Ashton Turner, when the visitors sunk to 45 for six in the 13th over.
The Windies were, however, put on their heels, when Matthew Wade gathered 33 and Mitchell Starc added 19 to put on 54 for the seventh wicket.
The real gut punch for the home team came, however, when Wes Agar hit the top score of 41 and Adam Zampa made 36 and shared a record 59 for the ninth wicket at better than a run-a-ball to give further legs to their side’s revival, which was not enough.
AUSTRALIA 187 all out off 47.1 overs (Wes Agar 41, Matthew Wade 36, Adam Zampa 36, Mitchell Starc 19, Josh Philippe 16, Alex Carey 10; Akeal Hosein 3-30, Alzarri Joseph 3-39, Sheldon Cottrell 2-29).
WEST INDIES 191 for six off 38 overs (Nicholas Pooran 59 not out, Jason Holder 52, Shai Hope 38, Jason Mohammed 11; Mitchell Starc 3-26, Adam Zampa 2-43).