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Australia vs West Indies | In Numbers: Chase and Pace Continue to Haunt Windies

West Indies lost 7 of their 9 wickets to fall to the Australian pacers as they went down by 15 runs against Australia in Nottingham on Thursday, 6th June.

Nikhil Narain |June 7, 2019, 8:51 AM IST
Australia vs West Indies | In Numbers: Chase and Pace Continue to Haunt Windies

West Indies lost 7 of their 9 wickets to fall to two quality Australian pacers as they went down by 15 runs against Australia in Nottingham on Thursday, 6th June.

While Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite and Sheldon Cottrell fell to Mitchell Starc, Evin Lewis and Shai Hope were dismissed by Pat Cummins.

It was a classic case of some careless reckless batting coupled with some good fast bowling by the Australians.

Lewis played away from his body to Cummins without any feet movement and was caught at second slip. Gayle was late getting his bat down to a full pitched delivery on middle and leg from Starc and was adjudged leg before wicket. The left-hander has had problems against left-arm pace and averages just 16.8 against them in his career – by far the lowest against any category of bowlers. He also has a problem of getting out leg before wicket – 29 times in his career he has got out in this fashion and more significantly he averages just 19.34 per such dismissal.

Hope fell to a leg stump half volley to Cummins while Russell was in a hurry to finish the match and threw his wicket away taking an unnecessary risk against Starc – the best bowler of the match. With under 75 needed at barely 6.5 runs per over, the need of the hour was to build a partnership and go deeper in the chase. There was no need to go for a blind heave at the stage.

Brathwaite made the same mistake in the 46th when he tried to launch into Starc and perished at mid-on in the process. He should have played out Starc and looked to attack Stoinis from the other end. Holder succumbed in the same over falling to an attempted pull shot while Cottrell was cleaned by a Starc yorker.

The West Indies played too many extravagant shots when the need of the hour was to preserve wickets till the death and then go for the kill. They targeted Starc and Cummins instead of playing them out and attacking the others.

It is not a surprise then that West Indies’ have the 8th lowest batting average against pace (28.95) since January, 2017. It is even worse than Bangladesh (31.69). Only Afghanistan (27.79) and Sri Lanka (26.19) have fared worse against pace in this period.

West Indies’ strike rate against pace is also the sixth-lowest (87.72) in this time-frame.

Just for perspective, India has the best average (41.89) and England the best strike rate (102.57) against pace during this period – such large is the gap and the difference between the prowess of the West Indies’ batsmen against pace when compared to the best in the business.

Gayle’s career average against pace is just 28.59 (vs career average of 38.14). The corresponding numbers for some other West Indian batsmen are: Lewis – (15.55 vs 31.59) and Hetmyer – (30.25 vs 40.30).

West Indies have also been, by far, by a distance, the worst chasing team since World Cup 2015. They have just won 10 of their 35 matches while batting second in this period – their win-loss ratio (of 0.476) is lower than even Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe in this period – that is how poor they are when they chase – clearly succumbing more often than not to the scoreboard pressure.

The West Indies score just 28.06 runs per batsman while chasing a target – again, the lowest amongst all the teams, barring Afghanistan, competing in this World Cup (since World Cup 2015).

Gayle (59.77) and Hope (47.72) are the only West Indian batsmen who average above 40 batting second in this period. The batting average of other batsmen is abysmal – Lewis – 25.31, Hetmyer – 27.1, Darren Bravo – 26.18, Russell – 14.

The West Indies have registered 13 totals below 200 and 7 between 200 and 250 while chasing in this period. They have lost as many as 8 matches by more than 100 runs in this time-frame.

At least, they put up a spirited fight against Australia and had the upper hand for a considerable period in the chase – that will be the silver lining for the West Indies as they fight the twin nemeses of ‘chase’ and ‘pace’ in the tournament.

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