SK Flashback: Kemar Roach caps top performance with a hat-trick in the World Cup 2011

Kemar Roach’s blistering speed left the Dutch shell shocked.
Kemar Roach’s blistering speed left the Dutch shell shocked.

The West Indies had enjoyed themselves, batting in daylight on the flat Feroz Shah Kotla wicket, piling up 330 for eight. The top five batsmen had fun against a modest bowling line-up, with Chris Gayle (80) and Devon Smith (53) setting up the innings with a partnership of 100 up front in 99 deliveries.

Kieron Pollard rounded up the odyssey heartily, reaching his fifty off just 23 balls, before he was dismissed for 60, having smacked 5 fours and 4 sixes in his knock spanning 27 deliveries. In all, the Caribbean batsmen knocked up 9 sixes. Alexei Kervezee pouched three catches, and Pieter Seelaar bagged three wickets. The Dutch were looking down the barrel.

If they harboured any thoughts of making a fight of it, Kemar Roach cut short the fantasy quickly. Wesley Baressi edged him and Gayle pulled off a fine catch at first slip. The opener had gone for a duck. Lanky left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn, who had opened the bowling, took the next two wickets, including the prized scalp of Ryan ten Doeschate. Roach then knocked over the off-stump of Bas Zuiderent as the ball held its line. In the next over, Benn trapped Tom de Grooth LBW. The Netherlands were now on life-support at 36 for five in the 11th over.

Twenty runs later skipper Darren Sammy had his counterpart Peter Borren caught at point. The resolute Tom Cooper found a willing partner in Mudassar Bukhari. The duo more than doubled the score but Roach returned to clean up Bukhari's stumps with one that did not bounce much, just as Cooper, the youngster from New South Wales, had begun to take the attack to the bowlers. It was 113 for seven with Cooper having racked up his half-century.

Roach brought in the first ball of his next over back sharply and trapped Seelaar plumb in front of the stumps. The next one was fuller and it also seamed in rapidly, striking Bernard Loots low on the front pad. Simon Taufel was in no doubt about this LBW decision either. Roach was on a hat-trick.

As it invariably happens on such occasions, the hapless last man Berend Westdijk had fielders crouching all around him. Roach did not do anything different. He steamed in and hit the turf with the seam. The ball cut in and shot through to crash into the middle stump amid unabashed jubilation from the West Indies players.

It was the sixth hat-trick in the World Cup, and Roach’s sixth wicket of the innings. Netherlands were shell-shocked and bowled out for 115 in 31.3 overs, their fine batting performance in the previous match against England now a distant memory. In 8.3 overs Roach had conceded 27 runs and taken away the Man of the Match prize. Benn returned with three wickets for 28 runs in his 8 overs.

The Feroz Shah Kotla wicket has been slow and low for as long as one can remember. Roach reckoned that the best way to counter it was to bowl fast and straight. He swung the new ball away just that bit and seamed the older one in alarmingly. He stated joyously after the game, “It is tough coming as a bowler to the sub-continent. You have to be very accurate and consistent. Once you get that right you get wickets.”

Here was another sterling effort from a paceman in the tradition of a long line of West Indies speedsters. The men in orange had no answers on the day.

West Indies: 330 for 8 wickets (50 overs), Netherlands 115 all out (31.3 overs)

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Edited by Raunak J
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