Australia collapse again in second T20 international loss to West Indies

Australia have produced another batting collapse as they lost by 56 runs to fall 2-0 behind to West Indies in their five-match T20 cricket series in St Lucia.

Sent in to bat for the second time in as many matches by Aaron Finch, the hosts made 196-4 in an innings containing 13 sixes and just eight fours. Australia have lost six of the last seven T20 matches in which they have opted to bowl first after winning the toss.

Both teams were 59-3 after eight overs, but a fourth wicket partnership of 103 off 65 balls between Shimron Hetmyer (61 off 36 balls) and Dwayne Bravo (47 not out off 34), proved the difference.

The unchanged Australian side could not generate a batting stand of more than 43 as they continue to prepare for the T20 World Cup.

Mitchell Marsh (54 off 42) followed up his first-match half century with another fluent effort, before being well caught by Dwayne Bravo at long off. But he lacked support, with no other batsmen making more than 19.

His dismissal triggered a collapse of 39-7, evoking memories of the 19-6 they lost in the first game in Saturday’s 18-run defeat.

Australia have now lost all four of their white-ball games since 2013 when playing without the influential quartet of Steve Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins and Glenn Maxwell.

Home captain Nicholas Pooran did not allow the Australians to settle against any bowler, rotating seven through the first nine overs, and his side also fielded well.

Australia’s chase got off to a poor start with both openers dismissed inside the first four overs. Matthew Wade was caught at mid-on for a duck off the second ball and captain Finch, who had already been dropped at backward point, was bowled off his pads for six.

Marsh added 39 for the third wicket with Josh Philippe (13 off 12) and added 43 for the fourth with Moises Henriques (19 off 21) before the collapse.

Left-hander Hetmyer, who notched his highest T20 international score, reached his 50 off 29 balls with an audacious scoop for six over the wicketkeeper’s head off paceman Mitchell Starc, who leaked 49 off his four overs.

Veteran Bravo, who batted three places higher than in Saturday’s series opener, was dropped on 15 by Daniel Christian at long off and made the Australians pay. Andre Russell (24 not out off 8), who clobbered a maiden T20 international half century in the first game, produced a trademark late-innings cameo.

Spinner Ashton Agar (1-28 off four) was the most economical of the Australian bowlers who completed a full quota, with each of the other five used conceding at least nine an over. Paceman Josh Hazlewood, who conceded just 12 runs in his four overs on Saturday, went for 14 in his second over and 40 in total.

Lendl Simmons (30 off 21 balls) smacked three sixes before cutting a ball from Hazlewood into the gloves of wicketkeeper Matthew Wade. The recent lean streak of renowned power hitter Chris Gayle (13 off 16) continued as he dragged a Marsh delivery into his stumps.