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How West Indies can turn around a corner

A winning formula for the West Indies.

Chris Gayle after scoring 215 against Zimbabwe

Talk about unpredictability and you have two names that come to mind – West Indies and Pakistan. West Indies were in a state of bother in the group stages but sneaked through to the quarterfinals with their batting being one of the bigger worries.

West Indian batsmen have been wobbly like dominos, just one push and the chain reaction triggered will ensure the collapse of the whole order within seconds. This has been the sad state of the West Indians in this World Cup and if it continues they will have to decide soon whether they prefer window or aisle or maybe go with the middle seat. 

They did score runs in a couple of matches, but out of which only one came against a good bowling attack, Pakistan. They are the kind of team that can score 450 runs one day and also buckle up for 50 on the next.

Come Saturday and they cannot afford to make any mistakes as it is a knockout game. They will be taking on the home team New Zealand and the Kiwis’ recent bowling form would be a tough exam to crack for the West Indies.

So far, most of the matches have seen win the toss, win the game sort of situations. So if West Indies win the toss, given the small ground and swinging conditions in New Zealand, they would definitely want to wield their blades and bat first in such a crunch game.

Pushing Chris Gayle down the order

Although Chris Gayle scored the only double hundred in World Cup history earlier on in the tournament, he is not too sure at the top of the order. He suffers against swing and wastes too many deliveries at the top to get going. Either that or he gets out very quickly. To be frank, Gayle is not much of a stroke player and not rotating the strike is one more weakness in his game.

So pushing him down the order to number 5 or 6 will be a good move. The ball will be quite old, with less swing and if there is a good score on the board, Gayle can open up and you don’t need a second guess to know what he is going to do once he is in. He can set himself up in 2 to 3 overs, and if he stays for 10-12 overs, we would be looking at a mammoth total.

Opening with Lendl Simmons and Johnson Charles

If Gayle is pushed down the order then the West Indies could open with Lendl Simmons. Simmons used to open the innings with Gayle once upon a time, so he will not be a stranger to the moving ball. Also, Simmons having better shot selection can see off the new ball.

On the other hand, Dwayne Smith, the out of sorts opener did not score big in a single game in the group stages. He even failed to score against teams like UAE, Ireland and Zimbabwe. Johnson Charles, on the other hand, had a decent start in his only game against UAE and he would be raring to go, if given a chance.

West Indies are a very good T20 team, so they can do what they are best at, take the game safely till 35 overs with 2 or 3 down and then Gayle, Andre Russell and Darren Sammy can see off the remaining 15 overs like a T20 match. Also, their bowlers are capable of stepping up to the occasion, just like the game against Pakistan, with Jerome Taylor as the main spearhead, with Holder and Russell supporting him.

Putting all these together, West Indies can pull off a big upset and might even go on to win the World Cup, like how they did by winning the World T20 in Sri Lanka in 2012. 

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