Marlon Samuels’ first-ever hundred against Australia and a record-breaking partnership with Denesh Ramdin lifted the West Indies to a competitive 282 for eight batting first.
But half-centuries by captain Steven Smith and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, together with a quickfire unbeaten 46 from Glenn Maxwell ensured that the target was reached with eight balls to spare.
West Indies and South Africa will now meet in the last preliminary match on Friday with the winners to face the Aussies in Sunday’s final. Smith and Marsh steadied Australia’s effort following the loss of three early wickets with a 122-run fourth-wicket partnership that set the World Cup-holders back on course.
However, when Smith was run out for 78 in the 42nd over, any hopes the West Indies had of claiming the victory that would have eliminated Australia were extinguished by Maxwell. It was so different at the halfway point of the match following Samuels’ superb knock, an effort that earned him the “Man of the Match” award.
Dismissed off the last ball of the innings for 125 which included 14 fours and two sixes off 134 deliveries, Samuels’ tenth one-day hundred followed a match-winning 92 in the last meeting between the two teams in St Kitts a week earlier.
Ramdin, who matched his senior partner shot-for-shot in an entertaining innings of 91, joined Samuels at the crease with the West Indies faltering at 31 for three in the ninth over after Smith had won the toss and chose to field.
They put on 192 for the fourth wicket, a new record for the West Indies against Australia as it surpassed the mark of 149 set by Clive Lloyd and Rohan Kanhai in the inaugural World Cup final at Lord’s exactly 41 years earlier.
“We put in a good effort but being a bowler short for most of the innings cost us,” said West Indies captain Jason Holder, who could only deliver two overs before leaving the field with a leg injury.