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Windies search for final berth

West Indies enter tomorrow’s One-Day International at Kensington Oval looking for a win against Australia to put themselves into the final.

Defeat will not automatically eliminate the Windies from the tournament but a loss would make their chances of making the final that more complicated.

Opener Johnson Charles has been getting starts without going on to a major score.

Opener Johnson Charles has been getting starts without going on to a major score.

Persistent rain yesterday led to the abandonment of the match between Australia and South Africa and a sharing of the points. They have both taken bonus points off the West Indies in previous matches in the Tri-Nation Series.

The washout has complicated things somewhat for Australia who go into the game in a must-win situation to ensure they finish ahead of the hosts, even if the West Indies defeat the Proteas in their final preliminary match.

If the West Indies flop tomorrow –– as they are prone to do –– they have to beat South Africa in their final game and get bonus points in the bargain. They have been scrambling wins rather than beating the socks off their opponents in the series and have not suggested any ability to acquire bonus points. Thus a win tomorrow is vital.

Australia’s batting was poor in their last completed game against West Indies in St. Kitts. They were cruising at one stage, only to falter in the final third of their innings and set up a chase that wasn’t out of bounds for the West Indies.

West Indies’ batting has been poor in the two games they conceded. At their best in the series they have still been inconsistent. Kieron Pollard saved the day in the win against South Africa in Guyana and Marlon Samuels did similarly against Australia in St. Kitts.

Opener Johnson Charles has got starts without going on to a major score while his partner at the top of the order Andre Fletcher has been unconvincing. At times he has looked more like a deer caught in headlights than an international quality batsman.

Some consideration might be given to including middle-order batsman Jonathan Carter at Fletcher’s expense but he is likely to retain his place, as he and Charles are the only regular openers in the team.

Sunil Narine was a handful in Guyana where he collected eight wickets but went without success in St Kitts. However, he has been economical throughout the tournament. His spin partner Sulieman Benn has found wickets hard to come by in the series and could be replaced by Shannon Gabriel on what might be a pace-friendly Kensington Oval strip. With fast bowler Jerome Taylor left out of the squad Gabriel’s inclusion looks very likely.

Left-hand fast bowler Mitchell Starc is expected to suit up for the Aussies and he has proven a handful for the West Indies whenever the two sides have met.

West Indies captain Jason Holder has called for consistency from his batsmen. They have been consistently inconsistent and with better weather conditions expected tomorrow than what prevailed on Sunday, the next two games against their guests provide great opportunities to respond positively to their captain’s plea.

The match starts at 1 p.m.

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