WI v ENG 5th ODI Preview

Sat, Mar 2, '19


Windies v England

It’s back to St. Lucia for Windies and England; this time for the fifth and final ODI, at the Daren Sammy Cricket ground on Saturday. After posting what was one of the highest ever totals in One Day Internationals (joint 8th) on Wednesday at the St. George’s Stadium in Grenada, the visitors were made to sweat as the hosts had the audacity to attempt a successful chase of 419. It was indeed a valiant effort, but West Indies fell short by 29 runs in the end. We know, all too well however, that ‘almosts’ and second places are not remembered.

And so, Caribbean fans will set out to determine ‘cause-of-loss’ in their post-match autopsy. While many understandably, have pinpointed Hetmyer’s dismissal as the cause; what of Jos Buttler being put down on 93?

In Windies’ chase, the only batsmen not to make an impact were Shai Hope (who was expertly set up) and Hetmyer. Now, if we have to go back to one of these two batsmen who did not contribute so as to lay blame, it says to me that 419 was too large a target. One could argue that the pitch was a batting paradise of course, among other things; but all things no longer remain equal when scoreboard pressure comes into play. 419 is a total that leaves almost no room for error; when has limited room for error and run-chases ever bode well for a team?

Who could defend the rash shot that Hetmyer played to get out, or his irresponsibility knowing the role he has in this team? No one, but if we are throwing blame why can’t we consider the two set batsmen (Nurse and Brathwaite) who got us within touching distance of victory long after Hetmyer was sent back to the pavilion then got themselves out in consecutive deliveries?

And so we revisit Jos Buttler who was dropped when on 93 then went on to add fifty-seven more runs in the next twenty-two deliveries he faced. It should not have mattered how dominant a position England was in; still, the fielders should have been giving their team every chance – even ‘saving one’ and taking catches when the opportunities presented themselves.

It cannot be argued that the target would have been fifty-seven less if Campbell had held on to the catch. However, we do know that a new batsman would have needed time to get himself in and that might have very well been the opening for Windies to stem the flow of runs.

We have never been afraid to call Brathwaite out for his non-performances, so let us give credit where it is due. It was he and Thomas (who continues to perform well in the middle-overs) who were responsible for dragging England back from the “flier” they got off to; with Brathwaite setting the example and Thomas taking the wickets.

With the series coming to a close and a chance to merely “draw level” coming up on Saturday, the West Indies has yet to strike the balance with their team. Therefore, changes must be made; with the chances given to John Campbell and the Jamaican’s reluctance to grab any, what would it hurt to give Nicolas Pooran a go at the top of the order tomorrow?

Additionally, when will the West Indies accept defeat in this ploy of two spinners? If opportunities squandered by Nurse and Bishoo does not bring an opportunity for Fabian Allen tomorrow then it means this team has made-up minds about who is going to play in England. If there is certainty from the West Indies that there is indeed something to gain from two slower-bowlers then how about a change of personnel? And if Windies switches from two to one spinner tomorrow without giving Allen a shot, it will be fair to conclude that it was not a tactic of two spinners but just a matter of personnel.

It was previously stated that this Windies team, in a run-chase, would be a batsman short; the same came back to haunt on Wednesday. It is now important that we do not overcompensate and go with bits and pieces players tomorrow, but on the contrary-respect the specialist batsmen and bowlers and their respective crafts.