West Indian cricket lovers were left with a bitter taste in their mouth following a 3-2 series loss to South Africa. The Windies lost a match in the series by a single run and lost two other matches by a combined 41 runs.
Heading into the Australia series, many wondered if the team had the capability of bouncing back and seize the decisive moments in their matches. The Men in Maroon answer the questions of their critics loudly by their dominance, brilliance, and resilience.
Like many cricket fans, I have followed the proceedings and posits my views below on some of the positives and negatives of the series:
1. Hayden Walsh Jr-Man of the Series
Hayden bounced back from the disappointment of not playing the ODIs in Bangladesh due to Covid and not being picked for the Sri Lanka series earlier this year. The St. Croix native had a tremendous man of the series performance.
According to espncricinfo, in the 5 matches, Hayden bowled all 20 overs, took 12 wickets at a ridiculously low average of 11.66. In addition, he only conceded 140 runs in the process at an excellent economical rate of 7.00.
In the 2nd match, he achieved his best figures in T-20 cricket with 3 wickets for 29 runs performance. Walsh Jr. also showed exuberance in the field, which kept the team’s outfield play at a high level.
- Fabian Allen-the rising all-rounder
Allen proved in this series that his bowling, batting, and fielding are trending towards him being the next big Caribbean all-rounder. In the bowling department for the 5 games, he bowled 18 overs, took 4 wickets at an average of 33.00.
He surrendered at 132 runs at a good economical rate of 7.33. His capability in the batting department was seen in the match 4 loss in the series. Fabian scored a blistering 29 off 14 balls with 3 sixes and 2 fours.
In doing so, he almost single-handily dragged the Windies over the line. His fielding brilliance is seen in what many consider the catch of the year in the 5th match of the series. Aaron Finch hit a powerful and flat stroke to long-on off Walsh Jr, but Allen at full sprint ran and caught the ball tremendously at full stretch with his left hand.
- Opening Batters-Simmons and Lewis
Lendl Simmons had a very good series and ensured the Windies were off to a good start in most games. In the 5 matches, he scored 165 matches at an average of 33 runs. He batted in the number 4 position in the 5th game but is more suited to being an opening batsman.
On the other hand, Evan Lewis only played 3 games in the series but still managed to score 110 at an average of 36.66. It included a man of the match 79 runs in the 5th match. It appears the opening partnership for the upcoming World Cup should be Simmons and Lewis.
- Step Up-Gayle and Bravo
The West Indies veteran duo of Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo played their role in the series win. Dwayne made a surprise entry at number with the Windies in a shaky position of 59 for 3. In the second match, he formed an excellent partnership with Hetmeyer of 103 runs to create the platform for a big total of 196 and later a victory.
Bravo scored 47 not out in the knock and could be seen encouraging the young Guyanese batsman. Gayle responded to the critics in the game by stroking 67 off 38 balls, including 7 sixes and 4 fours. It showed that he is still the danger man in the lineup, even at age 41.
- Nicholas Pooran’s leadership
In the absence of Kieron Pollard, many wondered whether Pooran was the best choice to lead the group. However, Pooran spoke encouragingly to his teammates and led the group admirably. He got his tactics spot-on with the bowling and field placement. He has the potential to become a captain soon based on his performance in the series.
1. Too Many Dot Balls
The Windies won the series quite comprehensively, as reflected by the scoreline. However, there is room for improvement in the way we construct our batting innings. We possess a powerful batting lineup with tremendous boundary hitters. However, at times we are too reliant on that medium to produce runs.
Therefore, when the boundaries are not flowing, it leads to pressure and then to wickets. In the series, based on my statistical tally of the box scores, the West Indies had 245 dot balls out of the 569 balls they had faced.
Therefore, it means 43% of the time, we failed to score a single run from the Australian bowling. Imagine if we slashed that percentage to 25% and we scored ones and twos from those deliveries. It would mean those 18 deliveries could yield another 20 to 30 more runs which will put a bigger target on the board or make a run chase more comfortable.
2. McCoy shines then hit with the injury bug
Obed McCoy produced a brilliant spell claiming 4 wickets for 26 runs in the 1st T20 match. His feat swung the pendulum to the West Indies after the Australians were on course for victory. He then missed the second match and then produced a wicket in the only over he bowled in the third match.
It was a pity not to see McCoy not get a chance to finish the series after a fantastic start. However, it will be important for the selectors to manage his workload as he progresses.
Yes, dark clouds hung over their heads from the loss to the Proteas, but there are now rays of shine and optimism emerging for the Men in Maroon from this series win against the Aussies.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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