Australia had to battle all the way to the final of the Tri-Nations series, beating West Indies by six wickets.
But it wasn’t as easy as the scoreline suggests, for they fought to contain a rampant Marlon Samuels (125) and Denesh Ramdin (91) who rebuilt the innings with a stand of 192 for the fourth wicket, eventually offering the Australians a target of 283.
The defeat means the West Indians and the Proteas face a must-win match on Friday with a final place at stake.
The Australians started at pace, with Starc snapping up Johnson Charles with the fourth ball of the innings, after the Windies had been sent in to bat.
Then followed a remarkable display of precision bowling, in which the Windies were able to score just 25 runs in seven overs. The pressure increased when Dwayne Bravo and Andre Fletcher went in successive overs, leaving the Windies at 3-31 in the ninth.
That, ultimately, was the difference, for Samuels and Ramdin had to rebuild patiently before they felt it was time to open up.
The wicket had eased, and the Australians had opted to leave out their specialist spinners. Ramdin reached 91 off 92 (5×4, 3×6) before Starc made the breakthrough for his third wicket, while Samuels powered on past his first hundred against Australia, falling off the last ball of the innings off 134 balls (13×4, 2×6).
The Aussies started well enough, but when Aaron Finch (16) and Usman Khawaja (17) were dismissed with the score stuck on 35 in the sixth over, the pressure mounted.
But Steve Smith remained rock steady to accumulate 78 off 107 balls, with support from George Bailey (38) and Mitchell Marsh, who ended unbeaten on 79 off 85. Even so, the Australians needed 62 off 50 balls and it took the sudden return to explosive form by Glenn Maxwell (46 off 26) to see them home with eight balls to spare.
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