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World Cup 2019: Analysis of West Indies' campaign

Edan Nissen
ANALYST
Feature
203   //    05 Jul 2019, 16:43 IST

Afghanistan v West Indies - ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Afghanistan v West Indies - ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

The West Indies were most people's pick to produce a stunning upset during the World Cup, but instead, their campaign failed to get off the ground due to injuries and poor performances. The Windies came in hoping that they could carry their form from the last T20 World Cup into the longer format of the game. However, they merely proved that there is a world of difference when it comes to T20 and the 50-over game when it comes to discipline and patience.

In 2015, the West Indies snuck into the knockout stages after finishing 4th in Group B due to defeating Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Ireland, and the United Arab Emirates. After making it to the knockout stages they were then comfortably defeated by co-hosts and eventual finalists New Zealand in the quarter-final. While New Zealand posted a total of 396 from their 50 overs, the West Indies were bowled out in just over 30 overs, falling 146 runs short.

Squad

The West Indies named their strongest possible squad, led by Chris Gayle and Andre Russell who had been given a break following their IPL campaigns. They were joined by fellow batters Shai Hope, Nicholas Pooran, and Evin Lewis.

The bowling front for the Windies also had talent, albeit lesser than the batting side with captain Jason Holder leading Oshane Thomas and Sheldon Cottrell, with support from Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and solitary spinner Ashley Nurse.

Performance

Some in the cricketing world predicted, due to the power in their batting line up and the expectation that pitches would favor the batsmen, that the West Indies will be able to score totals that other teams would struggle to chase down. However, in their first match, it was their superb bowling that bounced Pakistan out for 105. They also had South Africa in trouble early at 2 wickets down for only 29 runs before rain washed out the rest of the game.

However, the remainder of their tournament see the rest of the nations figure out the tactics, and despite posting a commanding 321 against Bangladesh the total was chased down with many overs to spare. The West Indies also came close to knocking off New Zealand, falling just 5 runs short with Carlos Brathwaite falling agonizingly short of a heroic winning knock as he was caught on the boundary chasing victory.

Standouts and Discoveries

Sheldon Cottrell was probably one of West Indies best players and was relatively unknown to anyone that wasn't paying attention to Caribbean cricket recently. Cottrell was the West Indies' highest wicket taker in the series with 12 wickets but caught most eyes with his unique military style salute after taking each wicket.

However, fast bowler Oshane Thomas was the pick of the discoveries. He was one of four players in the squad under the age of 25, and was consistently clocked bowling the ball down at speeds over 140 kph.

Nicholas Pooran, another younger member of the squad, also impressed with the bat, especially towards the end of the tournament. Prior to the World Cup, Pooran had only played one ODI game for the West Indies. He posted the Windies' top score of the tournament with a 118-run knock against Sri Lanka and followed it up with a stellar 58 against Afghanistan to end the tournament on a high note. He finished the series as the top scorer for the side, with

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Disappointments

It is hard to split what would be more disappointing for the West Indies, between their failure to defend 321 against Bangladesh, or falling 5 runs short of defeating New Zealand, who were undefeated at the time. While West Indies supporters would have expected the team to beat Bangladesh, especially after posting a 300 plus score.

With Brathwaite already having passed his 100 and needing only 5 runs to win off 6 balls, many in the crowd and watching at home would have expected the West Indies to win. However, when his glory shot was caught on the boundary by Trent Boult, it epitomized the West Indian batting problems.

Andre Russell's injury was also belongs here as he had just come off a stellar IPL campaign and would have certainly helped West Indian efforts both with the bat and the ball, something that they desperately needed in the middle of their innings.

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