Dubai: The West Indies team have done a great disservice to the large legion of fans, who have been hoping against hope that it will be Calypso time again in this edition of the World Cup. Loaded with stars of the white ball cricket, the Caribbeans showed plenty of promise at the start of the tournament, but periodically their performance graph has been dipping over the last few games.
The loss of two wickets, Shimron Hetmeyer and captain Jason Holder, to consecutive deliveries of Lockie Ferguson proved to be the turning point, that triggered a collapse. From 142 for two, they lost five wickets to be at 164 for seven in little over five overs, all to reckless and audacious shot selection. The manner in which they lost wickets puts a big question mark over the mental toughness of the West Indies batsmen.
Hetmeyer, Holder and Chris Gayle, who was dropped twice early in the innings, went for the big shots when the asking rate was only run a ball. Agreed, West Indians play a different brand of cricket, but adaptability is the key to a professional, who should be able to alter the game based on the situations.
It is unfortunate that the West Indians did not take a leaf out of New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson’s books, whose masterclass innings is a perfect lesson on how to build an innings. The classy right-hander, who walked in at the second ball, held the innings together until he departed in the 47th over after a run-a-ball 148.
On the contrary, the West Indians seemed to be in a real hurry to go past the line. Despite moving at a healthy rate, they threw their wickets away in their zeal and brought New Zealand back from a seemingly losing position. It is here one had to feel sorry for the lone battle Carlos Brathwaite waged in the company of nine, ten and jack to come so close to take his team to victory.
The all-rounder reproduced the knock one had witnessed in the last over of the World Twenty20 Cup in Kolkata, when he lofted Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes to give West Indies the title. On Saturday, when Brathwaite pulled the last ball of the penultimate over, high towards the midwicket, you and I would have thought it would comfortably sail over the line, but that was not to be. He did not get the elevation right and was short by a couple of feet to be caught by Trent Boult. It is heartbreaking to see him on his knees, a pathetic sight for which the rest of the batsmen need to take the blame for.
Even Brathwaite was guilty of playing the ball in the air as he had seven balls to score five runs. He could have tried to play the ball on the ground as it would have either given him the single to retain the strike or a four that would have levelled the scores.
The Caribbeans have once again faltered to deceive as they time and again hit the self-destruct button. It is not only the ardent West Indian fans would be disappointed with their effort, even the players will be unhappy with their performance as they have thrown away couple of matches to be in precarious situation, where their chances of reaching last four is slim.