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Marsh leads Aussies to victory



A starring all-round performance from Mitchell Marsh has seen Australia break through for their first win of the T20 international series against West Indies, winning by four runs in Saint Lucia on Thursday (Wednesday night local time).


Marsh bludgeoned 75 from only 44 balls to lead the visitors to a strong score of 6-189 from their 20 overs before claiming 3-24 from four overs with the ball as the West Indies fell just short in their chase.


Australia won a fourth straight coin toss and chose to bat, losing Matthew Wade cheaply when he was caught behind for just five from the bowling of Oshane Thomas.


Marsh continued his brilliant form in the series to date as he pulled Thomas for a towering six over square leg, getting the innings off to a fast start despite the departure of Wade.


Skipper Aaron Finch was more circumspect as the run rate climbed above ten runs to the over, left arm spinner Akeal Hosein also copping punishment from Marsh as Australia made their best start of the series so far with bat in hand.


After a brief rain delay Finch took centre stage, smashing 16 runs from one Lendl Simmons over as he and Marsh both reached 50.


Finch fell moments after, bowled having an ugly swipe at a Hayden Walsh delivery to depart for 53.


The West Indies leg spinner was on a hat trick when Alex Carey failed to pick a wrong'un first ball and looped back a return catch, and when Moises Henriques found deep midwicket having only made six Australia had lost 3-9 to slump to 3-135.


Ashton Turner was stumped having also only made six as the innings lost some momentum, Marsh remaining defiant as he made his highest T20 international score, eventually caught behind on review for 75 having struck four fours and six sixes.


A late cameo from Dan Christian (22* from 14) pushed the total to 6-189, Walsh again the pick of the bowlers with 3-27 from his four overs.


The Windies openers made a blazing start courtesy of Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons, Christian's only over of the innings going for 23 as the home side passed 50 inside four overs.


Lewis fell to the leg spin of Adam Zampa for 31 from just 14 balls, before Marsh claimed the huge scalp of Chris Gayle for one, well caught at long on by Jason Behrendorff playing his first game of the series.


Andre Fletcher was bowled by Zampa for six but Simmons was the key for the West Indies, reaching a half century to keep the chase on track.


Marsh appeared to tilt the game in Australia's favour when he removed Nicholas Pooran and Simmons (72) in consecutive balls, only for Andre Russell and Fabian Allen to keep the flame flickering with a pulsating stand for the sixth wicket.


The pair took 25 runs from the penultimate over bowled by Riley Meredith, the Tasmanian paceman hit for four sixes but able to remove Allen with his final delivery for 29, setting up a grandstand finish with 11 runs needed from the final over.


Mitchell Starc held his nerve for Australia, delivering four dot balls and only conceding a two and a four from the final two deliveries to give his side a tense four run win, their first of the series.


Marsh was player of the match for his 75 and 3-24, continuing his superb series to date.


"I thought the new ball came on really well tonight. We saw that with both teams," Marsh said.

Growing up at the WACA, I love facing fast bowling, a bit of fun.


"It was a great all-round performance from all our bowlers. I thought it was probably par, the wicket slowed up towards the back end but with West Indies you never think it's enough."


The series concludes on Friday night (Saturday morning AUS) at the same venue.


IMAGE: India Today.