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World Cup 2019: What has gone wrong for West Indies since their resounding win over Pakistan?

West Indies v Bangladesh - ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
West Indies v Bangladesh - ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
Gautam Kapoor

West Indies began their World Cup 2019 with a cracker of a performance against Pakistan, one which saw them register a comprehensive 7-wicket win. It was a clinical display which turned heads; their pace battery in particular made everyone sit up and take notice.

The reason West Indies were touted to go on and achieve massive things at the quadrennial tournament was due to the way their pacers stepped up to the mantle. The bowling department was deemed their weakest department heading into the World Cup, but now that they seemed to have papered over the cracks, they were favoured to achieve a top 4 spot.

However, since then, the team has taken a downward spiral. In the four succeeding matches they have managed to register just the one point, which from a rain-abandoned match against South Africa.

With losses against Australia, England and Bangladesh, West Indies' losing streak has extended to three matches, which has left them slumped in seventh position after five matches.

Their recent defeat against Bangladesh was one that epitomized everything that’s wrong with the side. Despite having Bangladesh just where they wanted them at 133-3, West Indies squandered their initiative, going on to eventually lose by 7 wickets as they gave away 322 runs in 41.3 overs.

So what exactly has gone wrong for the side? Here, we take a look at the areas which have left them in danger of making an early exit from the tournament:

Wayward bowling and an inexplicable line and length

Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas, Andre Russell and Jason Holder - these four pacers together were regarded to be one of the most formidable units in the tournament after their performance against Pakistan.

On that day, it was the bouncers that worked for West Indies. And they continued the game-plan successfully against Australia as well, reducing the side to 79-5, with the entire top-order failing to get under the deliveries that reared up on them.

However, since then, West Indies have stubbornly stuck to the same strategy despite it being clear that the opposition had figured out a way to counter it. They allowed Australia to escape in that match despite being in complete control, letting Nathan Coulter-Nile’s 92 take Australia to 288 - a score West Indies fell 15 runs short of in the end. Against England, the short ball was negotiated safely and West Indies had no second strategy to fall back on, relying solely on their pace to pick up wickets.

Against Bangladesh, the going got even worse as their bowlers were plundered all around the park. In two matches they’ve managed to pick up just four wickets in total, an aberration caused due to a wayward line and length adopted by their pacers.

They’ve sprayed the ball all over the surface and at such speed, any room accorded to the batsmen is plundered for runs.

Lack of a proper spin option

Why West Indies didn’t include a spinner in their side is something we’ll never know. Ashley Nurse was given an outing in the first two matches, bowling a total of 5 overs before being eventually dropped. It’s a decision that left everyone stumped given the fact that spin has proved to be a terrific weapon for most teams at the tournament.

Their failure to address the issue has been a major cause for their poor performances. Against England, as they looked to try something different, the only slower bowler option came in the form of Chris Gayle. He was economical in his five overs there but by no means threatening, with England happy to knock him around and keep the scoring going at the other end.

The problem came to the fore against Bangladesh too with Gayle going for 22 runs in his 2 overs after which he was taken off. West Indies have sorely missed a rank turner in both their previous two matches, someone who can not only take pace off the ball but also leave the batsmen cramped for room with his turn.

Also read - World cup 2019 highlights

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Edited by Musab Abid

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