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Australia v West Indies: First ODI preview

With the West Indies having claimed a magnificent victory in the second Test against Australia at the Gabba, there is renewed interest in the limited-overs series, with the first ODI taking place at the MCG on Friday.

The Windies had previously not won a Test match in Australia since 1997, so morale in the tourists' camp is sure to be high heading into the three one-day internationals and the following three-match T20I series.

Meanwhile, the Baggy Greens will no doubt be eager to hit back after such a stunning defeat and have a number of limited-overs specialists to look to for inspiration.

WhatAustralia v West Indies, 1st ODI
WhereMCG, Melbourne
When14:30 (AEDT), Friday 2nd February
How to watchChannel 7, Foxtel, Kayo
OddsAustralia 1.16, West Indies 5.00

Aussies have the upper hand

As with the recent Test record between the two sides, Australia have been on top against the West Indies in 50-over cricket as well, winning 11 of the last 13 meetings between the two sides.

They will be eager to continue their dominance with the white ball and several stars of the recent Big Bash League have been handed a chance to shine.

Matthew Short was outstanding with the bat for Adelaide Strikers, with his total of 541 runs a massive 175 more than any other batter in the competition.

The 28-year-old right-hander made his ODI debut in the recent series in India and will be eager to show that he could be the opening batter to replace David Warner.

Also in the Aussie squad is middle-order batter Jake Fraser-McGurk, widely seen as the most talented young hitter on the domestic circuit.

He smashed 18 sixes for Melbourne Renegades in the recent BBL - seven less than Short - earning himself a first international call-up, and it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to the step up in class.

A more established name with plenty of motivation will be Travis Head, who is likely to open the batting alongside Short, having bagged a King pair in the defeat at the Gabba. 

He is far too good a player to let that affect him, with Head having made 137 against India in Ahmedabad in his last ODI innings, and the left-hander is 8.00 to be named Player of the Match on Friday, with Short available at 10.00.

With the ball, none of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc or Josh Hazlewood will be involved, leaving opportunities for the likes of Lance Morris, Nathan Ellis and Xavier Bartlett, who took a tournament-high 20 wickets as Brisbane Heat landed the BBL title.

Inexperienced line-up led by Hope

The West Indies squad for the 50-over series is missing a number of experienced operators who will return for the T20Is, leaving skipper Shai Hope shouldering a lot of responsibility.

The 30-year-old once scored two centuries in a Test match against England, but has become a white-ball specialist in more recent times and he averages an outstanding 51.32 across the 121 ODIs he has played to date.

In the calendar year of 2023 Hope racked up 824 runs at 68.66 in 17 ODI matches, so he is most definitely a man in form and can be backed at 3.75 to be Team - Top Batter on Friday, while he is 11.00 to be named as Player of the Match.

MCG record a tale of two halves

These two sides have played 27 completed one-day internationals at the MCG to date and the previous results are clearly split into two definite halves.

The men from the Caribbean won 12 of the first 13 ODIs played at the venue, with the other game a tie, while the Aussies have now won 13 of the last 14 50-over matches staged at the MCG.

Those respective records surely mean that Australia are deserving of being hot fancies at 1.16 to win this DOI series opener.

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