AUSTRALIA lost six wickets for 19 runs as the West Indies won the opening T20 International by 18 runs at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground, Gros Islet, St Lucia on Friday.
Chasing a victory target of 146, Australia were cruising on 108 runs for four wickets in the 11th over but left-arm pacer Obed McCoy (four wickets for 26 runs) and recalled leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Jnr (3/23) triggered a batting collapse, as the West Indies emerged victorious in the first game of the five-match series.
The Australians were dismissed for 127 off 16 overs, in response to the WI's total of 145/6.
Allrounder Mitchell Marsh struck his highest T20 International score (51 off 31 balls with five fours and two sixes) and opener Matthew Wade hit 33 off 14 balls (three sixes and one four) but the visitors were undone by the variations of McCoy, who was named as Man of the Match, and Walsh Jnr, who replaced injured WI captain Kieron Pollard in the starting 11.
Nicholas Pooran made his international captaincy debut, as Pollard was unable to recover from a leg muscle injury which he sustained during the recent T20 International series against South Africa.
Andre Russell hit his maiden T20 International half-century (51 off 28 balls with three fours and five sixes) in a lone show of resistance, as his fellow batsmen struggled under lights on a slow pitch.
Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood claimed 3/12 and medium-pacer Marsh 2/26.
The second game of the series will take place on Saturday, from 7.30 pm.
WEST INDIES 145-6 (20 overs) - Andre Russell 51, Lendl Simmons 27; Josh Hazlewood 3-12, Mitchell Marsh 2-26 vs AUSTRALIA 127 (16 overs) - Mitchell Marsh 51, Matthew Wade 33; Obed McCoy 4-26, Hayden Walsh 3-23, Fabian Allen 2-24. West Indies won by 18 runs.