West Indies announced their arrival in England in style, notching up 421 runs in their warm-up game against New Zealand in Bristol on Tuesday. After a rained-out encounter against South Africa last week, Jason Holder & Co. put on a batting masterclass against the 2015 World Cup runners-up that will make all teams wary of the boys from the Caribbean.
Tournament managing director Steve Elworthy has already made arrangements for a 500-run column in the fans’ scoreboard and West Indies batsman Shai Hope believes that Windies might be the first team to topple 500 in the World Cup.
Hope lead the way for his team against the Kiwis, scoring 101 off 86 balls with four sixes and nine fours as WI scored 421 — their highest-ever total in a 50-over game. All-rounder Andre Russell, who has been in sublime form in the recently concluded IPL-12 for the Kolkata Knight Riders, carried on his form with a 54 off just 25 balls at the County Ground.
Russell’s efforts were also supplemented by cameos from Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer and skipper Holder. “It (scoring 500) is definitely a goal we can try to achieve at some point,” Hope said after the 91-run win over New Zealand.
“Definitely it would be great to be the first team to cross that 500 mark and I am sure we have the batting firepower to do it,” he added.
Hope has been the man in form for the West Indies, with three centuries and two fifties since March. “I would say my mindset has changed slightly,” the 25-year-old batsman said. “I haven’t really changed too much in terms of my preparation, how I go about things.
“But, as I said it is about adapting to the style of play, the style of cricket in these times and finding ways to score runs, finding ways to be as consistent as I can be,” Hope, who averages 51.06 from 54 ODIs, said.
Ranked eighth in the world heading into their ICC World Cup opener against Pakistan on Friday, West Indies start as rank outsiders to lift the Cup.
“He (Russell) is just incredible — a freak of nature really,” Hope said about the all-rounder. “I don’t really know what to say about Russ, he just hits it and once he hits it, it goes for six.
“He is a pleasure to be on the same team as him, I can tell you that. If you are on the field you are not sure what you are going to bowl at him. It is just nice to enjoy from the inside!” he added.