WINDIES open World Cup account with dominant win

Fri, May 31, '19


WI World Cup

With an average first innings total of 361 over the past five years; when WINDIES took on Pakistan at Trent Bridge–with Gayle, Hope, Babar and Fakhar all on show–headlines were expected to be written with the bat. As the Caribbean seamers would have it, they were written in Dukes’ white instead.

Jason Holder called the toss correctly and backed his batsmen to chase whatever target Pakistan would set. The Pakistani innings got going with a first-ball wide from Sheldon Cottrell. And though the left-arm seamers went on to beat the bat a few times before getting the chance to unveil his salute on the biggest stage; both he and Jason Holder were far too wayward with the new-ball.

The captain removed himself from the attack following his expensive start, being replaced by Andre Russell. The pace of the Jamaican took the Pakistani batsmen by surprise in what was a game-changing spell of 2 for 4 from 3, from the all-rounder.

This was while Carlos Brathwaite, at the other end, quietly went about his business. It was a rather impressive display of disciplined bowling–the areas which Brathwaite was hitting. He was left without tangible reward, however, as Shimron Hetmyer dropped Babar Azam off the bowling of the Bajan.

Jason Holder continued the ploy of using Oshane Thomas heading into the second powerplay. The 22-year-old didn’t take long to get in on the action, removing Babar Azam with the first delivery in his second over.

Despite the wicket, Thomas still was not at his best. He adjusted his line in his third over, however, and was justly rewarded with three more ticks in the wickets’ column. It was indeed a fantastic performance from Thomas; made even more pleasing by the fact that he made the adjustments required on this wicket. There’s a bit of intelligence from the young man. 

Speaking of adjustments: Jason Holder produced yet another of those famous second spell comebacks. The captain returned to wreak havoc on the Pakistan middle/lower-order in a spell where he copped three wickets.

It was a good day at the office for the West Indies, however disappointing it was–their intentions from the team sheet. It was obvious they were trying to ‘pad’ the batting. Shall we say it again? Let’s say it again: the West Indies should appreciate specialist bowlers and batsmen and their respective roles. Just take a second to imagine the three (like-for-like) all-rounders in the West Indies squad were–today–fielded in one playing XI.

The West Indies got to their target within 14 overs on the back of Chris Gayle’s 33-ball fifty. But Nicholas Pooran’s 34 from 19 balls, in the absence of Evin Lewis, just sent a reminder as to how he got into the World Cup squad, in the first place–gets chance, takes chance.