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How ‘atrocious’ umpiring contributed to West Indies’ fall to Australia – Almanack

by Steven Lynch 2 minute read

Having gotten off to a flier against Pakistan in the opener, West Indies were undone by an inability to clutch the big moments against Australia. Here’s Steven Lynch’s report from the 2020 Wisden Almanack.

Australia v West Indies
Match 10, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Trent Bridge, Nottingham
June 6, 2019

When Stoinis bunted to mid-wicket, leaving Australia 79-5, it seemed West Indies were carrying on where they left off against Pakistan. Their tall fast bowlers were digging it in again: Khawaja, struck on the helmet by Thomas, backed away after being hit by Russell, and toe-ended to the diving Hope.

Smith settled in, though a gettable target was still possible when Russell, in between feeling his troublesome knee, found Carey’s edge after an adventurous 45. But West Indies were about to discover the sauce of the Coulter-Nile.

After a sketchy start, he motored past his previous bests in international (34) and domestic cricket (64). He chipped Russell off his legs for six, clonked three more, and dominated a seventh-wicket stand of 102, which ended when Smith flicked Thomas to deep square. Six? No. Cottrell steamed round the boundary, clasped the ball in his outstretched left hand, and tossed it up as he skipped over the rope; he collected it back on the field and gave a gleeful salute.

West Indies’ chase of 289 had a frenetic start. After Lewis fell in the second over, Gayle was given out three times by Chris Gaffaney in five balls from Starc. Gayle reviewed all three: the first (for caught behind) had kissed stump rather than bat, the next (lbw) was missing leg, but the third was just flicking.

West Indian outrage at what Michael Holding called “atrocious” umpiring (two decisions against Holder were later overturned) was amplified when replays showed the delivery before the final lbw was a huge uncalled no-ball, so Gayle should have been contemplating a free-hit.

Hope settled in, but chipped tamely to mid-on after 68 from 105 balls, and West Indies lost their way. Holder also fell to Starc, his 150th wicket in 77 ODIs, one quicker than the Pakistan off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq. The tail could not prevent Australia’s 10th successive one-day victory, despite Nurse – strangely inactive in the previous two overs – smacking the last four balls, from Coulter-Nile, to the boundary.

First published in the 2020 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.

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