Nathan Coulter-Nile was exceptional,says Aaron Finch
Nottingham, June 7 (CRICKETNMORE): Australia skipper Aaron Finch heaped praise on Nathan Coulter-Nile who scored a brilliant 60-ball 92 and helped them beat West Indies by 15 runs in their second World Cup tie at Trent Bridge.
On Thursday, Coulter-Nile -- who is generally not known for his batting -- stitched a crucial partnership with Steve Smith and took his team to a more-than-decent total of 288 which his team successfully defended.
Coulter-Nile, who had never scored over 64 in any form of cricket and has only five half-centuries to his name in first-class and List A cricket combined, unleashed a devastating knock after the Aussies were reduced to 38/4 early on due to short-pitched deliveries unleashed by the West Indian fast bowlers.
With Smith, who led a remarkable fight back with a 73 off 103 deliveries, Coulter-Nile belted four sixes and eight fours in a dazzling counter-attacking innings.
"That innings of Coulter-Nile was exceptional. We always thought he had the ability and today he got the opportunity to bat longer," Finch said after the match.
Talking about his inning, Coulter-Nile revealed that he did not think that he would go on to score 92 in Australia's fightback.
"I did not think I would get that much. I remember Smith being on 81 and me not hanging around in a practice game, so I thought I would stick around a little bit. I played a pull shot second ball and it went up, luck went my way -- a couple dropped safely and inside edged a few. That's the way cricket goes," said the right-handed fast bowler.
The Australian skipper, however, acknowledged the threat posed by West Indies and said: "I was nervous when they were coming hard at us at 30/4. We kept fighting back."
"We just kept hanging in there. From 4 for 30 odd to be able to fight back and then a partnership between Smith and (Alex) Carey got us deeper. Even with the bowl we hung in there. I am really proud of the guys.
"We kept taking wickets (during the Windies inning) which was crucial. You have to keep taking wickets against West Indies since they are so destructive," he added.
The 32-year-old also admitted that the top-order batsmen played poor shots which ultimately put them in a spot before Smith and Carey got them back into the game.
"Our top-order was disappointing, and played a few poor shots. And with the bowl, we have few areas to improve. To still come out with 2 points, with a lot of improvement to do, is a real positive for us."
Chasing 289 for victory, Shai Hope scored an impressive 68 and Jason Holder threatened to win the game off his own bat before he got out after scoring 51.
Mitchell Starc was the pick of the Australian bowlers and bowled brilliantly, especially at the death, picking up key wickets to finish with figures of 5/46 as the Caribbean team finished their stipulated quota of 50 overs at 9/273.
West Indies skipper Holder blamed his batsmen for the loss, saying they played irresponsibly and that was the main reason why they fell short of the target.
"Ya, obviously we are disappointed. We played a few irresponsible shots. We had to stick it around a little bit more," he said.
"Batsmen should have taken responsibility and chased down the total. We still believe that we can win this competition. It is still early days in tournament, competition is wide open. We just have to be more consistent," Holder added.
Australia will next face India on Sunday while Windies will lock horns with South Africa on Monday.