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ICC World Cup 2019: West Indies Inconsistent Under-pressure With Flashes of Brilliance

They skittled Pakistan for 105 and then raced to their target within 14 overs with 7 wickets in hand. This was West Indies in their opening World Cup 2019 fixture at Trent Bridge. Teams beware! The West Indies had made a statement and how!

Nikhil Narain |June 27, 2019, 7:59 AM IST
ICC World Cup 2019: West Indies Inconsistent Under-pressure With Flashes of Brilliance

They skittled Pakistan for 105 and then raced to their target within 14 overs with 7 wickets in hand. This was West Indies in their opening World Cup 2019 fixture at Trent Bridge. Teams beware! The West Indies had made a statement and how!

But unfortunately for the men from the Caribbean it has been downhill since then.

4 weeks after and the West Indies find themselves languishing at number 8 in the points table, on the verge of elimination.

Since their spectacular start, the West Indies have played five more matches – they have lost 4 with one washed out.

What has been the reason for this downfall? How has their destructive batting line-up fared in the tournament? Has the bowling let them down?

Let us dig deeper.

Lacking the Killer Instinct and the Usual Batting Collapses

The West Indies had Australia on the mat at 79 for 5 in their second match, again at Nottingham but let things slip as Australia posted a competitive 288. Chasing, at 216 for 5 in 38.4 overs, with 73 needed off 68 deliveries and with Jason Holder and Andre Russell at the crease, the West Indies were in control of the match. But they succumbed under pressure, collapsed and ultimately fell short by 16 runs. West Indies lost a golden opportunity to beat Australia after having an upper hand twice in the match.

There was almost a similar story at Manchester. They let New Zealand off the hook after dismissing their openers in the very first over. Chasing 291, they were in a strong position at 142 for 2 after 22 overs – with Shimron Hetmyer and Chris Gayle going strong. But another collapse and the West Indies lost 5 wickets for just 22 runs and even a spectacular fightback by Carlos Brathwaite could not see them through as they went down by just 5 runs.

It was a classic story of so near and yet so far for the West Indies. They could have very well been the victors against both Australia and New Zealand.

They had a good start against South Africa picking two early wickets before rain played spoilsport.

But it was against England and Bangladesh where West Indies received a comprehensive thrashing. They were bowled out for 212 against the hosts courtesy a middle-order collapse, again! From 144 for 3 in the 30th over they lost 7 wickets for just 68 runs A listless bowling performance then meant that England won by 8 wickets with more 16 overs to spare.

And their bowlers could not defend 321 against Bangladesh.

Not Enough Big Runs by Top-middle Order

1

The West Indies’ top and middle order haven’t scored enough big runs in the tournament, when compared to the other teams. Twice they have failed to chase totals between 250-300 and have once been bowled out for 212 – not good enough in a world tournament.

The combined batting average of the West Indies top 5 is just 34.26 – it is the lowest in the tournament only better than Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. Although there have been 8 fifties no individual hundreds have been registered (Carlos Brathwaite batted at 6 against New Zealand) – this suggests that though the West Indies’ batsmen are getting the starts, they are not converting it into a potentially match-winning big score.

2

Overall, none of the West Indian batsmen have aggregated more than 200 runs in the tournament. Barring Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, there is at least one batsman from each of the remaining 7 teams who has aggregated more than 200 runs in the tournament.

The highest scorer of Afghanistan has scored 197 runs in the competition – three runs more than the highest scorer of the West Indies – Gayle! This sums up how the West Indies have performed with the bat.

Two of the premier batsmen – Gayle and Shai Hope average between 35 and 40, Evin Lewis below 20 and Darren Bravo below 10.

The West Indies’ batsmen haven’t forged enough meaningful partnerships – their average partnership per dismissal is just 30 in the tournament – again, only better than Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. Just for perspective India has scored the best average runs per partnership – 51.9! The West Indies have registered just two hundred and 5 fifty partnerships in this World Cup.

The West Indies’ batting has seen flashes of brilliance but they haven’t collectively performed in the tournament – and that has been their undoing. There were three 40-plus scores in the chase against Australia with a highest score of 68, just one fifty against England, again three fifties against Bangladesh but no hundred and two fifties, a hundred but 5 single-digit scores against New Zealand.

Inability to Take Wickets and Control Flow of Runs

3

The West Indies’ bowling attack has failed to make inroads into the opposition top and middle order. At the same time they have been unable to control the flow of runs and stem the run rate.

Their bowling average of 37.54 is the third-worst in the tournament – only better than Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Their bowling strike rate of 36.8 is the fourth-worst in the tournament and their economy of 6.1 is only better than Bangladesh and Pakistan’s.

None of the West Indian bowlers have picked 10 wickets in the tournament. The bowling average of four of them – Holder, Oshane Thomas, Brathwaite and Shannon Gabriel – has been above 30.

No West Indian bowler features in the top 10 list of wicket-takers in the tournament.

The economy rate of five of their bowlers – Ashley Nurse (6.14), Holder (6.18), Thomas (6.32), Brathwaite (6.96) and Gabriel (8.19) – has been above 6 per over.

Barring their opening match performance where they bowled out Pakistan for 105, the West Indies bowlers have found it difficult to make inroads into the opposition top and middle order and have neither been restrictive.

They conceded 288 against Australia, could pick just two wickets against England and conceded runs at a rate of 6.42, just managed to take three Bangladeshi wickets and were hammered at a rate of 7.75 and were unable to dislodge the Kane Williamson-Ross Taylor partnership against New Zealand.

Overall, though they promised much, it has been a poor effort by the West Indian bowlers.

Along with the inconsistency of their batting and bowling, West Indies have missed the X-Factor of Andre Russell. Russell was the Player of the Tournament in IPL 2019 but failed to make an impact with the bat in the World Cup (36 runs in 3 innings) before being ruled out due to a knee injury.

As things stand West Indies need to win all their remaining matches to have any chance of qualifying for the semi-final. They will then depend on the results of other matches and various permutations and combinations to see them through.

Their first hurdle is India on the 27th of June and it’s not going to be easy for the West Indies.

If they bow out they have no one but themselves to blame.

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Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 England 4366 104
4 South Africa 3177 102
5 Australia 3672 102
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8366 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 5568 265
4 South Africa 4720 262
5 India 9349 260
see more