- Coulter-Nile's career-best 92 is the highest score by any number eight batsman or lower in a World Cup.
- Starc took four wickets for two runs in his last 11 balls to cut the Windies' spirited chase to pieces.
- With this 15-run win, Australia now go into the game against India on Sunday at the Oval with their tails up.
Australian cricketers at the end of the match. (Reuters Photo)
NOTTINGHAM: After this game, Nathan Coulter-Nile may just quietly walk up to Australian captain Aaron Finch and demand a promotion in the batting order.
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Playing the innings of his life - his highest ODI score was 34 before this - the 31-year-old blasted 92 off just 60 balls to help Australia score an imposing 288, after they looked to have been scorched by the West Indies pace battery on Thursday morning at Trent Bridge. Coulter-Nile's extraordinary effort, that included eight fours and four massive sixes, is the highest score by a No. 8 batsman in the history of the World Cup.
When they were tottering at 38/4, and then 79/5, not even in their dreams would the Aussies have imagined that they would land up with such a huge total. But Coulter-Nile's heroics helped them stage an unbelievable recovery.
The West Indies were in the hunt as long as skipper Jason Holder (51; 57b, 7x4, 1x6) was in the middle, but in the end, he was left with too much to do. With Mitchell Starc (5/46) bowling fast, full and straight, they lost four wickets for four runs, and eventually finished at 273/9 in 50 overs.
Firing all cylinders, the left-arm pacer took four wickets for two runs in his last 11 balls to cut the Windies' spirited chase to pieces.
With this 15-run win being their second in the bag, Australia now go into the game against India on Sunday at the Oval with their tails up.
The West Indies will rue that Shai Hope (68; 105b, 7x4) and Nicholas Pooran (40; 38b, 5x4, 1x6) both looked good before they got out. Laid low by a knee injury which had earlier forced him to limp off the field, Andre Russell smashed an 11-ball 15 that included two fours and a six, but was snapped up by Glenn Maxwell, who ran at least 15 metres behind at point to pull off a stunner.
Initially, West Indies suffered a setback when they lost both their explosive openers, Chris Gayle - who couldn't survive the DRS for a third time - and Evin Lewis with just 31 on the board. Pat Cummins had Lewis edging to second slip in just the second over, while Gayle threatened for a while, but was adjudged LBW after being late in getting his bat down to an 86mph fuller ball pitched on leg stump by Starc.
From the time he walked to the crease, Coulter-Nile looked positive, swinging the bat cleanly. Increasing the tempo of the innings by a few notches, he dominated a 102-run stand, which took merely 82 balls, for the eighth wicket with former captain Steve Smith, who rescued Australia at a difficult time with a fighting innings of 73 (103b, 7x4).
After Smith was caught brilliantly off Oshane Thomas by Sheldon Cottrell at long leg, running 20 yards to his left at full speed before palming the ball in and pouching it, Coulter-Nile took it upon himself to take care of the slog, puling and lofting Cottrell for consecutive sixes in the 46th over. Coulter-Nile's innings can be placed right among the best of this World Cup.
The credit for the Aussie resurgence must also go to wicketkeeper Alex Carey. A controversial selection considering many favoured the more experienced Matthew Wade, it was Carey who provided the initial spark with a 55-ball 45, adding 69 with Smith in 87 balls to pull Australia out of the woods. Peppered with the short stuff with caused the doom of the other Aussie batsmen on the day, Carey took 15 balls to get off the mark, with the crowd even greeting him with a mock applause for doing so!
However, after he had crawled to three off 25, the 27-year-old showed some of the fighting qualities which he must have imbibed as an Australian Rules footballer earlier in his life.
World Cup 2019: Coulter-Nile, Starc star in Australia’s 15-run win over West Indies