Stand-in coach Justin Langer has urged an inexperienced Australia to relax as they prepare for consecutive knock-out ODI fixtures in the West Indies.
Rain ruined Australia’s tri-series clash with South Africa in Barbados, where play was abandoned after one over on Monday morning.
Australia will now confront West Indies at the same venue in a virtual semi-final, which starts at 3am AEST on Wednesday.
Victory will ensure they progress to the series decider, also at Kensington Oval next Monday (AEST).
Defeat will mean the World Cup holders finish third on the table and head home.
“All ODIs are pressure games but certainly in this instance, in these last two there’s real pressure,” Langer said.
“It’s game on … it’s good to see guys under pressure.”
Langer urged his charges to ignore that added pressure and treat the high-stakes game like any other.
“You have to keep them as relaxed as possible. Because I always believe the harder you try, the worse it gets,” he said.
“Individually and often collectively.
“Steve Smith talks a lot – we’ve beaten West Indies on skill. If we beat them (it will be) on skill, not emotion.”
Smith’s side will start as favourites against the hosts but they were embarrassed in St Kitts last week, when West Indies recorded their first ODI win over Australia since 2012.
The other meeting between the two teams in the ongoing tournament was a six-wicket win for Australia, who skittled West Indies for 116 in Guyana.
“Sometimes in big games what you tend to do is over-analyse it. You want everything to be perfect,” Langer said.
“But often – in my novice experience as a coach I guess over the last few years – the less you can put in their mind (the better).”
Langer and on-duty selector Trevor Hohns made three changes for the wash-out, recalling allrounder Glenn Maxwell plus pacemen Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland at the expense of Travis Head, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Adam Zampa.
The pair are yet to settle on an XI for Australia’s next game.
“We’ve got to consider a couple of things,” Langer said.
“We’ll work out what the best way to beat the West Indies is … we’ll work all that out in the next 24 hours.”
Heavy showers hit the Caribbean island in the morning but play started as scheduled at 3am AEST on Monday, when Smith opted to bowl first.
Players were forced off the field after just one over, with the Proteas 0-8, and play never resumed.
“It’s frustrating,” Langer said.
“Particularly in Barbados – whoever imagined you’d be in Barbados and you’d get a game washed out?”