Sports

Losing the toss was a setback, claims Holder

Sanjay Myers
Sport Reporter
@ ICC Cricket World Cup In England & Wales

Saturday, June 15, 2019

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SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom — It was billed as a clash between two of the 2019 Cricket World Cup's more electric bowling attacks.

In the end, however, England utterly dominated the West Indies in the pace department. In fact, they outdid the Caribbean men in every meaningful mini contest to stroll to an eight-wicket win in yesterday's match at the Hampshire Bowl.

England move to second place in the 10-team table with six points from four games, while West Indies are sixth with three points, also from four outings.

The luck of the toss did play its part. England won it and did the obvious by sending the West Indies to bat first in cool, overcast conditions. The 23-year-old left-hander Nicholas Pooran continued his good start to the tournament by top-scoring with 63, which could only help them to 212 all out.

England quick bowlers Mark Wood and Barbadian-born Jofra Archer made best use of the coin toss advantage, claiming three wickets each.

In reply, Joe Root, asked to open the batting after regular opener Jason Roy hurt his hamstring, carved out a splendid 94-ball 100 not out. His knock made sure the run-chase (213-2) was a romp, albeit in improved batting conditions, as brilliant sunshine prevailed in the afternoon.

“I thought losing the toss and being asked to bat in what was probably bowler-friendly conditions [was a setback],” West Indies Captain Jason Holder said while providing analysis during yesterday's post-game press conference.

“It's just one of those days. I felt the sun came out in the second half and the wicket flattened out, it's one of four games [in which] we didn't get any new-ball wickets.

“[Root] played well, he got off to a really good start and kept the momentum. He's a quality player; credit must be given to him. I thought he really applied himself and he batted through. I think the bowlers tried — defending 213 isn't easy.

“We needed to pick up wickets and we did not get new-ball wickets for the first time in the competition. We tried, it's wasn't for the lack of trying, [but] it just didn't happen for us today,” he emphasised.

Holder did, however, note that a foundation was laid when batting conditions were at their toughest, and the opportunity lost to post a challenging total after West Indies faltered from 144-3 inside the 30th over.

“I thought we got through the Powerplay quite nicely at 41-1 at the end of the first 10 overs, which was a decent position considering the conditions. I thought we lost the game in the middle. Every time we got something going we lost a wicket and we just lost wickets at crucial stages. In hindsight we just have to build a few more partnerships and go deeper. I thought Pooran played extremely well, he was just an example of how we need to play on the pitch,” he explained.

A score of 212 was just never going to be enough on the day, but there remained the feeling that the West Indies bowling was nowhere near incisive enough to consistently test the England batting unit.

In previous games, hostile short balls rattled opposing batsmen and brought success for the West Indies on bouncy, seaming wickets. But yesterday the tactic appeared desperately predictable against an England side which was prepared for such a ploy.

The West Indies' two wickets did come via the short ball — burly speedster Gabriel claiming 2-49 before leaving the field with a leg worry at the end of his seventh over.

By contrast, England's quicker bowlers were more sparing with the use of the short-pitched delivery, and much more accurate when they delivered it.

Their wicket-taking threat was realised in getting the lines and lengths right and using the short ball as a surprise weapon.

The basic statistics backed up their effort — pacers Wood, Archer, Chris Woakes and Liam Plunkett combined for eight wickets. The two wickets claimed by part-time spinner Root were bonuses.

But still, the West Indies captain, gaining a reputation for getting the best out of the Caribbean side, stuck to his guns.

“No regrets [about the bowling],” was his response as yet another question came his way regarding the team's short-ball aggression.

West Indies supporters can only hope Holder's men get it right in their next clash, which arrives on Monday against Bangladesh at County Ground in Taunton.


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