A fiery half-century from Evin Lewis laid the platform for a 200 target set by West Indies, which seemed well within reach for Australia until a slew of dynamic fielding efforts during the chase turned the tide back the way of the hosts as West Indies clinched a 16-run victory to complete a 4-1 series win at Daren Sammy Stadium in St Lucia.
Lewis attacked pace and spin in equal measure to blaze a 23-ball fifty and ultimately finished with 79 off 34 balls, including four fours and nine sixes, to pace West Indies through the first half of their innings after winning the toss and choosing to bat first.
Aaron Finch and Mitchell Marsh put Australia well ahead of the required run rate in the Powerplay portion of the reply. But a trio of sensational fielding efforts, first by Russell off his own bowling in the fifth and then by Fabian Allen and stand-in captain Nicholas Pooran in the space of three balls in the 10th, sucked the air out of the Australia chase at a pivotal stage from which they never recovered.
After a blazing 31 off 14-ball cameo in his previous knock two days earlier, Lewis stayed a bit longer at the crease on this occasion and enacted double the damage. His first victim of the night was Jason Behrendorff. After ending the first over by flicking the left-armer over square leg for six, Lewis seized on a free hit in the third to belt a full toss for another six over midwicket before ending the over with another over backward square. A switch of ends made little difference for Behrendorff in the sixth as Lewis clattered him for another pair of boundaries and sixes.
The start of a four, six, six sequence in the eighth over against Tye helped Lewis to his ninth T20I half-century. At one stage, David Miller’s fastest T20I century off just 35 balls looked in peril when Lewis heaved Mitchell Swepson for back-to-back sixes over the leg side in the ninth to move to 75 off 28 balls. But the left-hander finally ran out of steam collecting four singles in the next two overs before holing out to Marsh at the end of the 11th.
In spite of the early loss of Josh Philippe to end the first over, Australia were humming in the Powerplay behind another brisk knock from Marsh at No. 3, who motored to 30 off 14 balls as Australia ended the fourth over at 46 for 1. Russell arrived in the fifth and struck first ball with a brilliant reaction catch as a half-volley was smoked straight back to the allrounder, who pocketed a hip height catch in his follow-through.
But Russell’s catch was child’s play compared to what occurred in the 10th over. Player of the Series Walsh Jr claimed his series best 12th wicket off the second ball of the over, but it was Allen who made the moment possible through sheer effort and athleticism. A knee high full toss was slapped flat down the ground by Finch, but Allen reprised some of the boundary catching heroics from years gone by in the CPL, that put him on the map early in his career, by sprinting to his left at long-on before flinging his body to claim a stunner laid out full extension with his left hand.
Two balls later, new batter Carey tried to tap and run into short midwicket to get a well set Moises Henriques back on strike. But Pooran continued his side’s merciless display in the field by hustling out from behind the stumps, picking up the ball and firing back into the striker’s end stumps from short range with Henriques still inches short of making his ground to be out for 21. From 95 for 2, Australia were suddenly 100 for 4.
Despite being ahead of the required run rate, their thin middle-order depth meant the target became increasingly distant. Russell helped cement the win by dismissing Carey and Matthew Wade in consecutive overs. With 63 off 27 required for the tail, some late hitting made the final margin seem more flattering to the visitors than it was as the hosts completed yet another convincing win.
West Indies 199 for 8 (Lewis 79, Tye 3-37) beat Australia 183 for 9 (Cottrell 3-28, Russell 3-43) by 16 runs