Australia moved level on points at the top of the 2019 Cricket World Cup standings on Thursday after they beat the West Indies by 15 runs to continue their winning start in Britain.
Nathan Coulter-Nile marked his first innings of the tournament in style and was named Player of the Match following his 92 off 60, while Steve Smith's 73 helped power the defending champions to 288.
The West Indies couldn't muster the same pace and suffered their first defeat of the tournament despite Shai Hope (68 runs), Jason Holder (51) and Nicholas Pooran (40) each showing promise. Mitchell Starc took five wickets for Australia for the second match in a row.
A rash of successful reviews left some unsatisfied with the level of umpiring during the match at Trent Bridge in Nottingham. Melinda Farrell of ESPN Cricinfo wrote about Chris Gayle's wrongful dismissal for LBW early in the West Indies' innings, when replays proved umpire Chris Gaffaney should have given a free hit.
Coulter-Nile's promising session wasn't enough to earn him a place in the top 10 run-scorers, with England's Joe Root still leading the charts on 158 runs.
Tournament Top Run-Scorers: Runs (Average)
1. Joe Root (England): 158 (79.00)
2. Shakib Al Hassan (Bangladesh): 139 (69.50)
3. Rohit Sharma (India): 122 (N/A)
4. Jos Buttler (England): 121 (60.50)
5. Rassie van der Dussen (South Africa): 113 (37.66)
For the full standings, visit the ICC website.
Standings (Won, Lost, Points, Net Run Rate)
1. New Zealand: 2, 0, 4, 2.279
2. Australia: 2, 0, 4, 1.059
3. West Indies: 1, 1, 2, 2.054
4. England: 1, 1, 2, 0.9
5. India, 1, 0, 2, 0.302
6. Bangladesh: 1, 1, 2, 0.008
7. Sri Lanka: 1, 1, 2, -1.517
8. Pakistan: 1, 1, 2, -2.412
9. South Africa: 0, 3, 0 -0.952
10. Afghanistan: 0, 2, 0, -1.264
Australia (288) beat West Indies (273/9) by 15 runs
Australia got off to a stuttered start in what was their biggest test of the World Cup so far, recovering from lurches in the first and second innings to pull clear of the former group-stage leaders.
The victory was a collective achievement, but Melbourne Stars batsman Coulter-Nile, in particular, deserved praise for a special display.
The Australia No. 8 didn't get to participate in his side's victory over Afghanistan but contributed a match-deciding total in their second outing, per Deepu Narayanan of Cricbuzz:
His tally of eight boundaries and four maximums—Australia's only sixes of the afternoon—were crucial in setting a benchmark the West Indies couldn't meet.
Smith was also essential in that regard, but former England international Michael Vaughan praised the team's mentality as another key to the result:
Starc was especially important in that regard and succeeded in taking the sting out of the West Indies when they looked to be hitting back, removing captain Holder and Carlos Brathwaite in the same over late on.
Omnisport put the 29-year-old's bowling performance into numbers:
Sheldon Cottrell had one highlight in particular that he won't forget despite the loss: a catch to remove Smith from play that could challenge England's Ben Stokes for Catch of the Tournament, via Sky Sports:
Sky Sports Cricket @SkyCricket
WHAT A CATCH! 😱🔥 Smith flicks one off his pads and it looks six from the moment he connected but Cottrell has other ideas! Unbelievable stuff from the #MenInMaroon! 😳 Watch the #CWC19 live on Sky World Cup now or follow online: https://t.co/JsbGPUbQFf https://t.co/nEVPr4FcRF
The West Indies can hold some resentment over the umpiring decisions that didn't go in their favour, but the split in those calls and Australia's undeniable quality are enough to suggest the result was just.