World Cup 2019: Opinion - Why West Indies are the dark horses of the tournament
The warm-up games before the upcoming ICC World Cup have produced some very interesting results. While the two favorites – England and India – have faced some unexpected losses, middle rung and ‘weaker’ teams like New Zealand and Afghanistan have come up with great results. This means the upcoming World Cup where each team plays the other at least once in the group stage, is likely to produce competitive matches and some surprises and shocks.
However there is one team that has not been considered as pre-tournament favorites by many, and yet the warm-up games have proved that the concerned team has it in them to get past the more fancied opponents and at this stage is certainly the dark horse of the tournament. We are talking about the West Indies - every cricket fans second favorite.
There is something about the Calypso style of cricket that has endeared the West Indian team to the cricket lovers world over. They may no longer be the indomitable force they once were. But even during their worst phase, starting from the late nineties, they have produced cricketers of the caliber of Brian Lara, Shivnaraine Chanderpaul, etc. during that period.
But with the advent of T20 cricket and its popularity world over exemplified by T20 leagues such as the IPL and the BBL, the natural flourish and talent of the West Indian cricketers have come to the fore. They are the toast of the cricketing leagues and have millions of fans.
Except for the 2016 ICC T20 World Cup, these superstars have not been able to replicate their league successes for their national team. However, all that may change this time. They have several match winners with the likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Shimron Hetmyer, etc. who can almost singlehandedly win them a match.
They also have a strong pace bowling line up and in captain Jason Holder, they have a very capable all-rounder and an astute leader. Their performance, especially their explosive batting against New Zealand must have sent a warning to all the other teams.
If they play as a team, then this bunch of supremely talented players have it in them to rewrite history. They will need to start strong though against Pakistan, another mercurial team, against whom they open their world cup campaign.
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