West Indies and the World Cup Forecast
Predictions are seldom accurate, especially when they are as complex as a game of cricket at ODI level.
At the halfway stage, New Zealand and India didn’t lose a single game, while Australia and England held towards the final four. However, Bangladesh demonstrated vast improvement. Within the past year, they defeated the WI on seven occasions before arriving in the host country England.
Fans didn’t know how to assess the true form of the Windies team going into the World Cup. They defeated Ireland in warmup matches but were defeated three times by Bangladesh on previous occasions.
Hope Springs Eternal
The short story began with a most convincing victory over Pakistan, using a team which was filled with demon fast bowlers in Kemar Roach, Orland Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell, Jason Holder, Andrew Russell, and Carlos Braithwaite. The message was clear. Speed and hostility would be their main form of attack. In Game One, it worked wonderfully! Pakistan failed the battle against the constant short-pitched deliveries to total 105 all out. The Windies won by scoring 108/3 for victory.
However, banking on the 39-year-old Chris Gayle was suspicious. His apparent chronic back injury retarded his progress in bending and swinging the bat. Additionally, he struggled in his catching. Another batting and bowling strength was Andrew Russell, who also was clearly suffering from an injured knee which brought pain and departure from the field on various occasions. Unfortunately, these were serious disadvantages.
As to our batting, only Shai gave us “hope” with his consistency. But in sheer speculation, the form of Evin Lewis and Darren Bravo were good enough to be selected on the basis of their previous ability shown. But neither were in good form, and this caused problems on and probably off the field as well.
Australia was our second opponent and immediately, the concept of destroying the opposition with flying bouncers was not as effective. We restricted the Aussies for 288 which was too much for our moderate batsmen score of 273/9.
Losing by a score of 16 runs, we then pondered over the 22 wide balls which our bowlers gave away. 22 runs forced us to bowl the same number of balls extra.
“Hope” was again competent, and to a lesser extent Hetmyer, Pooran and Jason Holder. But collectively, they failed to reach the Aussies 288.
Rain affected our next encounter against India giving each country one point.
England walked over us in every department. They scored 213/2 and reduced the Windies after bowling their 50 overs which brought us 212/8 and defeat.
Ban yuh belly!
The encounter against Bangladesh was the one which may well have adverse mental effect for future matches.
After scoring 321/6 with some superb batting from Evin Lewis, a wonderful 96 by “Shai” as usual, and 46 by Hetmyer, the picture appeared interesting. Both injured players Gayle and Russell both scored “duck.” Russell got a quick wicket and broke down and Gayle was called to stand in as a spinner.
It was ineffective and the recognised fast bowlers in Thomas, Cottrell, Holder and Gabriel failed to recognise their consistent bouncers and ill-directed deliveries got a licking. This did not only provide victory for Bangladesh by 7 wickets, but it may well have taken the fight out of the team for the other matches.