Coulter-Nile not convinced he will keep his Australia place despite heroics
The Windies were beaten in Nottingham.
Nathan Coulter-Nile revealed he is sweating on his place despite his rescue act lifting Australia to a 15-run victory over the West Indies at Trent Bridge.
Ostensibly selected for his seam bowling, Coulter-Nile was the unlikely hero with the willow in blasting 92 from 60 balls – the highest score by a number eight batsman or lower at a World Cup – to lift Australia to 288 all out.
However, Coulter-Nile remains wicketless after two outings in the tournament and feels Jason Behrendorff and Kane Richardson are now breathing down his neck ahead of Australia’s next fixture against India at the Oval on Sunday.
How good was Nathan Coulter-Nile earlier?!— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) June 6, 2019
His knock was the highest by a No.8 at a Cricket World Cup, helped rescue Australia from 79/5, and deservedly earned him the Player of the Match award 👏 #CWC19 pic.twitter.com/zyeucxpdic
Asked whether he thought his barnstorming innings had left him feeling secure in Australia’s line-up, he responded: “No, I took none for 70. We’ve got two world-class bowlers (waiting to play).
“I’m not in the team to make runs, hopefully the top order does that so I wouldn’t be surprised if I got dropped for the next game.
“I’m in the team to take wickets and I’ve had two wicketless games so we’ll see how we go.
“I think it’s good to have competition and it wouldn’t be good if we had no one pushing you trying to get better so again I love it.”
Coulter-Nile’s highest score in 28 previous one-day internationals was 34 while his effort on Thursday was his best as a senior professional, eclipsing a knock of 64 he made in first-class cricket.
The 31-year-old said: “The only time I looked up and I thought ‘Jeez’ was when I was on about 90, I think. Then I started thinking about it.
“I broke my bat one of the shots, I didn’t want to change it, maybe I should have done that. I didn’t think about the century. I just thought ‘jeez that’s a lot of runs’.”
He hammered eight fours and four sixes after Steve Smith had anchored the innings with a defiant 73, steadying the ship after Australia had slipped to 38 for four amid some hostile bowling from the Windies pacemen.
Coulter-Nile was eager to credit Smith, saying: “He was just trying to keep me level-headed, just giving me the confidence to play my shots, telling me what he thought they were going to do and where the runs were going to come.”
At one stage in their pursuit of 289, the Windies were on 252 for six with Jason Holder and Carlos Brathwaite poised to set up a grandstand finish.
I broke my bat one of the shots, I didn't want to change it, maybe I should have done that. I didn't think about the century. I just thought ‘jeez that's a lot of runs’ Nathan Coulter-Nile
However, Mitchell Starc removed both batsmen as he finished with five for 46 to emphasise his status as a dangerman in this tournament.
He said: “It was probably touch and go. We’ve always had the belief there and we’ve got plenty of good bowling in our line-up, and we know we’ve got guys that can bowl at the death.
“We were always only a couple of wickets away and, at the same time, they were probably only a few sticks away from taking the game away from us. It was a fantastic game of cricket.”