Australia defeated West Indies by 15 runs in a Trent Bridge thriller to maintain their 100% start to the ICC Cricket World Cup.
The pace and potency of the West Indies bowling looked to have restricted Australia to a chaseable total, but an exemplary late spell from Mitchell Starc dismantled the Windies lower order to bowl them out 15 runs short.
Starc finished with 5-46, his sixth five-wicket haul in ODIs, and surely his most crucial.
Starc’s display was the standout on another day where fast bowling came to the fore, with Sheldon Cottrell making an impact at the start of the day.
With Australia two down, the crowd were already at fever pitch, the West Indian support urging Cottrell to attack pantomime villain David Warner.
The 29-year-old obliged - although in truth Warner appeared to have got himself out as he slapped a wide delivery to gully.
The Jamaican quick issued his trademark salute as Warner departed, an exuberant section of the West Indian support accompanied his demise on tambourines and drums, and a smattering of boos followed the former vice-captain back to the pavilion.
It was the short balls which were unsettling the Australians, but the fuller-pitched ones which were taking the wickets, Shai Hope wise to dive in front of Chris Gayle to remove Usman Khawaja.
By this time Cottrell was patrolling the boundary edge, where he had already slipped when attempting to dismiss the dangerous-looking Steve Smith.
Smith had gone to his first ODI fifty since his return to the side, playing late and square of the wicket to nullify the threat of the West Indies attack.
Cottrell would bring his innings to a close, however, with a catch for the ages.
Smith’s hook towards the Bridgford Road stand looked certain to be going for six, before Cottrell plucked the ball out of the air, threw it skyward as he ran over the rope, then returned to complete the catch himself.
It was an audacious take which rivals Ben Stokes’ superb opening-day catch as the moment of the tournament so far.
From there, Australia did mount a recovery – Nathan Coulter-Nile counter-attacking with quickfire 92 from 79 balls, the 31-year-old’s best in professional cricket.
The number eight’s previous ODI high was just 34, but his unlikely contribution was game-changing,
He dragged Australia to a total of 288, a superb recovery from 79-5.
In response, Chris Gayle strode out to a rapturous reception, and displayed his sense of theatre throughout an ultimately short stay at the crease.
Gayle’s 29-ball innings included two successful DRS reviews inside an over, with the 39-year-old looking unruffled as he lofted Pat Cummins for successive boundaries shortly after.
It would be third time lucky for Australia, however.
Given out lbw, Gayle called for a review with one second left on the DRS timer, but this time the ball was going on to clip leg stump.
Nicholas Pooran (40) kept up the momentum before being smartly caught by Finch, leaving Shai Hope in the company of Shamron Hetmyer.
Hetmyer looked in good touch, but would only make 21 before departing.
The scorecard will say that he was run out by Cummins, but in truth he was run out by Hope after a calamitous mix-up.
Andre Russell’s titanic battle with Mitchell Starc was ultimately won by the bowler, who removed the dangerman for 15, while Jason Holder motored at the other end.
The skipper was mixing colossal swipes with perfect decision-making, twice overturning lbw decisions to go to a run-a-ball fifty.
But he would also fall to Starc, gloving a short-pitched delivery into the hands of short fine leg.
With the run-rate beginning to escalate, and wickets running out, Starc scented a five-for, which he duly completed with a perfectly-placed yorker to see off Sheldon Cottrell.
Starc’s accuracy was pinpoint in his final over, but last man Oshane Thomas was able to dig out his full deliveries to deny the paceman a sixth scalp.
This merely felt like delaying the inevitable, however, and so it proved when the last-wicket pair of Thomas and Nurse fell short by 15 runs despite a flurry of boundaries in the final over.
For Australia, this was a win which showed the importance of their big-game nous, and showed them as a force to be reckoned with regardless of the match situation.
Finch’s side will be buoyant as they head into a blockbuster clash with India at The Oval on Sunday.
A Notts Outlaws squad brimming with international talent will commence their T20 Vitality Blast campaign against Worcestershire Rapids at Trent Bridge on Thursday 18 July, with adult tickets priced at £10. Secure your seats…