WINDIES in with a loud shout against South Africa

Sun, Jun 9, '19


WI World Cup

The West Indies fell to a 15-run defeat to Australia in what was their second game at the 2019 Cricket World Cup. It was a defeat which left Caribbean fans with the feeling that their team had lost, rather than the feeling that Australia had won. In reviewing WINDIES’ chase of 289 at Trent Bridge last Thursday, there is no doubt that they were cruising until Shimron Hetmyer was found short of his ground. The Caribbean side was still on top following the soft dismissal of Shai Hope, were still the favourites up until Andre Russell departed and was still in with a chance prior to Jason Holder being caught. But having had Australia on the ropes at 38 for 4 in the 8th over and again at 79 for 5 in the 17th over, there is no excuse the West Indies can give for, ultimately, needing 289 to win.

WINDIES players should, indeed, give their very best on the pitch. But, what about giving ourselves the best chance even before stepping on the field; that is, in naming the best playing XI, a balanced XI, an XI relevant to conditions and each opposition?  After the initial wave of attack from Thomas, Cottrell and Russell (Holder withheld himself from the attack), the threat of the WINDIES attack grew lukewarm. And although Holder must take some responsibility for the use of his bowlers, there is something to be said for the West Indies attack itself going from the three Jamaican quicks to options such Nurse and Brathwaite in the context of this game, specifically. Especially, given the fact that Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel were available.

We cannot speak in absolutes and say that the West Indies would have bowled the Australians out very cheaply, had either Roach or Gabriel been fielded. However, there is little doubt West Indies would have given themselves a better chance, had either played. It is now common knowledge that the set-up of this WINDIES team rests its balance on the health of all-rounder, Andre Russell—the sixth bowler. The sixth bowler who was asked to bowl four/five more overs than would be recommended, due to his health; simply because two of the five front-line bowlers were unable to provide what the team needed in the middle-overs—wickets.

On a more positive note, the pressure Nicholas Pooran has been heaping up has forced him into the team. He showed maturity, once again, with the bat. It must also be said that the young West Indian middle-order trio of Hope/Pooran/Hetmyer looks to have the making of a formidable line-up.Sure, we have high hopes for the three, individually. However, seeing them bat together against Australia, someone should say: based on age, talent, potential to be fulfilled, as well as what each has managed to accomplish, so far, the West Indies may have found something potentially special in these three.

Holder and his team will be presented with another colossal opportunity to move up the table, when South Africa comes a-calling on Monday. However, the men in maroon will need to take the opportunities when they are presented. Although South Africa is currently oh-for three in the tournament; at some point or the other, in their games, they have fought back, but their opponents have stood their grounds and resisted their attacks.

No half-assed attempt will get the West Indies past South Africa, they will need to play disciplined, be watchful and fight to the end.

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