Windies T20 bowling a major concern, says Junior Bennett


Windies T20 bowling a major concern, says Junior Bennett

Senior staff reporter

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

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Junior Bennett, the former Jamaica head coach, believes the West Indies bowling is the team's weakest link ahead of next year's Twenty20 (T20) Cricket World Cup.

“I think our bowling is our biggest challenge going into the World Cup,” he told the Jamaica Observer recently.

“We are not batting as well as we can at the moment, but we definitely have the batters to get the job done. I cannot say the same thing about our bowlers,” Bennett added, suggesting that selectors should “look at a few of our young quick bowlers” to fill the breach.

His comments came in the wake of the regional side's second-straight loss to New Zealand in the three-match T20 International series Down Under.

The hosts' latest win clinched them the series against West Indies who have appeared undercooked. Their bowling and fielding have both been substandard.

The West Indies team only came together a day before Friday's opener in Auckland because players who participated in the Indian Premier League had only just cleared quarantine as per New Zealand's health guidelines aimed at reducing the risk of coronavirus transmission.

Unlike the West Indies Test squad, which played two practice games ahead of this week's start of the first Test against the Black Caps, the T20 players had no warm-up contests.

In the second T20 match in Mount Maunganui three days later, no West Indies bowler was spared severe punishment as New Zealand piled up 238-3 in terrific batting conditions.

New Zealand batsman Glenn Phillips was the main architect of their 72-run win, pouncing on some loose bowling to blast a 51-ball 108. West Indies pacer Keemo Paul suffered the ignominy of conceding 64 runs from four overs.

West Indies batsmen crumbled under the weight of the run chase, and were restricted to 166-9. Captain Kieron Pollard's 28 was the highest score against seamer Kyle Jamieson's 2-15.

In the opening encounter which was shortened to 16 overs per side due to several rain interruptions, their bowling was again wayward, while the batting blew hot and cold in a five-wicket defeat.

Batting first, West Indies rocketed to 58-0 inside four overs, but lost five wickets for one run in the space of 11 balls before Pollard's blistering 75 not out from 37 deliveries lifted them to 180-7. New Zealand speedster Lockie Ferguson was sensational, worrying all the batsmen en route to figures of 5-21.

Set 176 runs to win as per the Duckworth and Lewis method, New Zealand reached 179-5 with four deliveries to spare. James Neesham top-scored with an unbeaten, 24-ball 48. West Indies fast bowler Oshane Thomas claimed 2-23.

“We definitely have to improve in all areas of the game,” Bennett, who has served as Jamaica cricket's chairman of selectors and is one of the most successful coaches in regional first-class competition, said.

“In the first match we laid a good foundation, but faltered by losing a cluster of wickets. We recovered to make 180, which is a decent score off 16 overs, but our bowling and fielding let us down,” he told the Observer.

“We have to take a serious look at our bowling attack [because] I don't think the present set of bowlers will get the job done. In both matches they leaked runs in all stages of the game,” Bennett reiterated.

The final T20 clash was rained out yesterday.

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