Warner gets up off canvas but denied fairytale farewell as Dre Russ power lifts Windies to upset win over Aussies
Just when it looked like David Warner would hit a match-winning century in his final match for Australia on home soil, his dream farewell unravelled in the space of a few frenetic overs.
Warner had shown remarkable courage to bat on after being hit in the jaw by an Andre Russell bouncer early in his innings to power his way to 81 before an attempt to hit a fourth six led to his downfall in the T20 clash with the West Indies at Optus Stadium.
Australia’s pursuit of the victory target of 221 faltered from there with Josh Inglis out later in the same over and despite some late Tim David fireworks, they finished well short on 5-183 as the Windies avoided a 3-0 series whitewash.
The upset win was set up by a player with a huge reputation for power hitting in Andre Russell and a virtual unknown in Sherfane Rutherford, who combined for a 159-run whirlwind of a partnership to rescue the tourists after a top-order tumble of wickets.
Warner, who has already retired from two international formats and will do so from a third at the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean in June, had a few lucky moments in his farewell innings in Australia but many more shots of pure class.
A sweetly struck slog-sweep for six off Jason Holder was the highlight of his 49-ball vintage knock.
The lowlight came in the fourth over of the innings when Russell dug the ball deep into the Optus Stadium wicket and it reared up into Warner’s shoulder and onto his chin, underneath the protective grill on his helmet.
Warner was stunned by the blow and received medical treatment but passed his concussion check to take out his frustrations on the bowling attack.
Mitch Marsh, who contributed just 17 of an opening stand of 68, fell in the seventh over when he skied spinner Okeal Hosein to Holder at mid-on.
By that stage Warner had already reached his half-century in just 25 deliveries and put on another 57 with Aaron Hardie before the young local prospect fell for a run-a-ball 16, bowled by Romario Shepherd.
Warner had produced nine fours and three sixes before Roston Chase induced a top-edge from another slog sweep which went no further than Russell’s huge hands in the deep.
Glenn Maxwell and David were faced with a required run rate of 15 and you wouldn’t say that was beyond them but it rose above 20 as the powerful pair struggled to find top gear.
Maxwell, after blasting a 50-ball ton in Adelaide two nights earlier, failed to launch this time around and was bowled by Shepherd for 12 off 14 with David ending on 41 from just 19 deliveries.
Western Australia is about as far away as you can get from the West Indies on the globe and it looked like the frazzled tourists were mentally on the flight home when the match got under way.
Xavier Bartlett backed up his superb haul of 8-38 from his first two ODIs by snaffling a wicket in his first T20 over for Australia when Johnson Charles nicked an attempted hoick to midwicket on four.
Nicholas Pooran nicked Jason Behrendorff to slip to go for one and when Bartlett bowled Kyle Mayers (11) off an inside edge, an early night looked in order with the score at 3-17.
Roston Chase (37 off 20) and Rovman Powell (21 off 14) steadied the ship before Adam Zampa and Aaron Hardie struck.
Rutherford and Russell adopted attack as their best form of defence, clearing the boundaries with regularity to bring the 100 up in the 11th over.
In just his 12th international appearance for the Windies in T20s, Rutherford initially took a back seat to his veteran batting partner before a six off Zampa over long on got him going.
Rutherford sent Spencer Johnson the distance in back-to-back deliveries and then bashed Hardie for three boundaries in the following over as he raced to his half-century in 33 deliveries.
He then went six, four to Behrendorff before Dre Russ stepped up to take down Zampa.
In a rarity for one of the world’s best white-ball bowlers, Zampa lost his line and length when called upon to bowl the 19th over and Russell heaved him over the rope four times with a boundary off another delivery which Tim David nearly caught.
When the dust settled, Zampa had gone for 28 off the over and Russell had accelerated to 61 off 26.
He was out in the final over to an outfield catch off Johnson but not before another four and six to propel the Windies to 6-220 with Rutherford remaining unbeaten on 67 from 40.
Zampa’s figures of 1-65 were by far his worst in his 77th T20 for Australia, conceding 18 more runs than the 47 he gave up to Engalnd in 2020.