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Aussies edge out Windies with fighting display

 

Unlikely hero: Nathan Coulter-Nile fired an unexpected 92
Unlikely hero: Nathan Coulter-Nile fired an unexpected 92

By David Charlesworth

Nathan Coulter-Nile's extraordinary 92 from 60 balls and Mitchell Starc's five-wicket haul ushered Australia to a 15-run victory over the West Indies at Trent Bridge.

Coulter-Nile emphatically delivered with the willow for the highest World Cup score by a number eight batsman or lower as Australia posted 288 all out despite slumping to 38 for four.

It was a total that would ultimately prove beyond the Windies, despite fifties for Shai Hope and Jason Holder, as Starc took key wickets and finish with five for 46.

Australia celebrated a second win from two in the tournament, largely thanks to the unexpected batting prowess of Coulter-Nile.

He crunched eight fours and four sixes and put on a vital century stand with Steve Smith, who impressively anchored the innings with a defiant 73 from 103 balls.

The pair's rescue act came shortly after the Windies had induced a top-order collapse.

Four of Australia's top five were back in the pavilion before the end of the eighth over, while Marcus Stoinis fell limply after brief resistance.

Alex Carey then seemed to be building momentum, but an airy waft at Andre Russell ended his stay on 45 and seemingly Australia's hopes of a competitive total as Coulter-Nile walked to the crease.

The Smith and Coulter-Nile partnership soon flourished, while Russell limped off in distress.

Smith moved sedately to his half-century while Coulter-Nile swiftly followed him off only 41 balls.

Coulter-Nile was dropped on 61 by Shimron Hetmyer in the deep, though Smith was not so fortunate after Sheldon Cottrell's stunning grab, ending a 102-run stand off only 89 balls.

Running along the boundary, Cottrell plucked the ball out of the air before releasing it and completing the catch after he had stepped back in from the rope.

Coulter-Nile soldiered on but fell eight runs short of a century after holing out to wide long-off as Australia were all out with six balls unused.

The Windies' response started with Evin Lewis edging to second slip off Pat Cummins, while fellow opener Chris Gayle was reprieved twice by technology after being given out off Starc.

But he was unable to take advantage as umpire Chris Gaffaney was finally vindicated when the 39-year-old was pinned in front by Starc - Hawkeye showing the ball would have clipped leg stump.

Nicholas Pooran contributed a punchy 40 before he was pouched by Aaron Finch at backward point, before Hetmyer was left stranded on 21 after a mix-up with Hope.

He moved to his fifth ODI fifty but clothed Cummins to mid-on for 68, bringing the belligerent Russell to the crease in tandem with Holder.

Russell got off the mark with a maximum but was soon dismissed, leaving the Windies' hopes in the hands of Holder.

The captain was a steady presence but once he miscued to Starc for 51, their charge petered out and they finished on 273 for nine.

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