NOTTINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Mitchell Starc saw plenty of positives after his five-wicket haul helped Australia to a 15-run World Cup win over West Indies on Thursday but it could have been a different story.
The fastest man to take 150 wickets in 50 overs cricket dismissed Windies captain Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite and Sheldon Cottrell in the last five overs to finish with figures of 5-46 from his 10 overs at Trent Bridge.
“It was probably touch and go there,” the seamer told reporters.
“Look, we’ve always had the belief there, and we’ve got plenty of good bowling in our line-up, and we know we’ve got guys that can bowl at the death.
“We were always only a couple of wickets away, and at the same time they were probably only a few sticks away from taking the game away from us. A fantastic game of cricket today,” he added.
Nathan Coulter-Nile had earlier struck a defiant 92, the highest World Cup score for a number eight batsman, after Australia lost their first five wickets for 79 runs.
Starc said Australia were fortunate to get as many as they did, having earlier felt anything over 200 would give them a chance, and they came away with two wins from two games and “heaps of positives”.
“He’s (Coulter-Nile) such a clean striker of the ball, and he hit some fantastic shots today,” said Starc. “Without his 92, it would have been a real battle for us with the ball.
“As long as I can keep contributing to the group the way I’ve done today and hopefully the last couple of weeks, it’s a great sign for the group going forward, and we can start to string performances together,” he added.
“If we can all keep contributing and having a great tournament, it’s going to result in some really positive cricket for Australia.”
While Coulter-Nile steadied the ship and helped set a competitive total of 288, it was still a close run thing in a match peppered with umpiring errors.
One of them was a no ball that went undetected just before the delivery that finally dismissed West Indies opener Chris Gayle.
Starc admitted he had been unaware of the mis-step at the time.
“I’m normally pretty close and I’ve actually been a fair way back for the last few weeks,” he said.
“I didn’t know I was over there, but someone told me about five minutes ago that I was a fair way over. Got away with that one, fortunately.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond