Veteran opener David Warner has fired in his 100th T20 international to inspire Australia to an 11-run win over the West Indies in their series opener.
The 37-year-old top-scored with 70 from 36 deliveries before spinner Adam Zampa starred with the ball as the hosts defended 7-213 at Hobart’s Blundstone Arena on Friday night.
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West Indies – coming off a 3-0 thrashing in the ODI series – got off to a blistering start thanks to openers Brandon King (53 from 37 balls) and Johnson Charles (42 from 25).
But Zampa broke their stand in the ninth over, before finishing with an ultra impressive 3-26 from four overs in a batter-dominated match.
He bowled big hitter Andre Russell and had the dangerous Nicholas Pooran caught on the rope in a crucial 16th over.
David Warner with his player of the match award at Blundstone Arena. Credit: Getty Images
Marcus Stoinis also had a good night with the ball, picking up 2-20 from three overs.
With the West Indies needing 40 off the final two overs, allrounder Jason Holder sent some jitters through the opposition with an unbeaten 34 from 15 balls – but his side finished short at 8-202.
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The two sides meet again on Sunday in Adelaide, with Australia looking to wrap up the three-game series.
Warner, returning after a lean stint in the United Arab Emirates 20-over league, became the first Australian to play 100 internationals in each format of the game.
He got Australia off to a flying start with a 93-run partnership with Josh Inglis (39 from 25 balls).
Opening together for the first time in T20 internationals, the pair propelled Australia to 0-77 after the six-over powerplay.
Warner finished with 12 fours and one six, but had some luck on 48 when wicketkeeper Pooran grassed a tough opportunity diving one-handed.
The innings flipped the script for the Aussie great, who hasn’t been in great form since his retirement from Test cricket, averaging just 14.38 from eight innings in Dubai.
FULL SCOREBOARD: All the runs and wickets here
“He was probably wanting a few more to really cash in, but he played beautifully,” said Tim David, who hit an important unbeaten 37 from 17 balls late in Australia’s innings.
“It felt like we had enough, but it was probably a little bit tighter than it needed to be.”
Warner, who set the tone with four boundaries off Holder in the second over, fell in the 13th when he gloved an Alzarri Joseph delivery to Pooran.
Australia were 5-159 in the 16th over after losing 4-30 before David combined with Matthew Wade for a partnership of 50 off 23 balls.
King said Australia bowled better to the dimensions of the ground.
“At no point can you really lose momentum in the run chase – it can hurt you,” he said.
“We did well to get a good start, so we had wickets at the end but it didn’t work for us.”
Warner’s innings is timely and will give selectors plenty to think about ahead of the T20 World Cup.
“He’s probably in (the team) now,” Aussie great Mark Waugh said in the commentary.
“There are so many options for the Australian selectors, just super talented players who could easily fill the role up top.
“But David Warner, he’s a great player, he’s got a great record so he’s probably going to be in. It’s going to be a matter of who’s with him.”
– With Cameron Noakes