The West Indies have found themselves in a position where they must win on Wednesday if they’re to have any say in the three One-Day International (ODI) series encounter against India.
The men in Maroon will have to up the ante in the batting department in particular as their performance on Sunday was below par.
However, some pundits have concluded or attributed the lower-than-expected performance to jet lag and the quick turnaround time imposed on the team.
Except for the lower order batting of Jason Holder (57) and Fabian Allen (29), not much was there to write home about in the batting.
At one point in the match, the visitors were reduced to 79-7; thankfully, Holder and Allen managed to arrest the slide and add some respectability to the score.
The calypso cricketers could only score 177 off 43.5 overs, which India erased quickly, scoring 178-4 with 22 overs to spare.
The match marked the 1000th ODI game in India, and the occasion was celebrated with a win which also gives the home team bragging rights going into the second game.
Captain Kieron Pollard has a massive weight on his shoulder, albeit he has never claimed to be the ‘Atlas’ of the George Headley kind.
However, he recognized the significance of a win, and in the post-match interview after the first game, said the lads suffered a “heavy defeat.”
He said the players must dig deeper and deliver the goods.
“Again, same old for us not being able to bat 50 overs, getting [into] trouble between that 10 to 30 mark, losing five wickets, being 77 for 5. We gotta take stock of that. We gotta dig deeper, we gotta get better with our techniques – myself included in terms of that because we have all been guilty, sometimes, of making mistakes,” said the skipper.
“I thought getting four wickets there showed that once we put some runs on the board, we might be able to compete,” he added.
He also singled out Alzarri Joseph, who accounted for Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli in the same over and also effected the run out of left-hander Rishabh Pant.
Joseph, the highest-ranked West Indies bowler on the ICC’s ODI rankings at number 26, ended with figures of 2-45.
Pollard noted that there is zeal in the team, but players need to quickly iron out the kink in their game.
“The enthusiasm is there…. At least we can go [and] think about it, see if we can work on a couple technical flaws in the couple days, and come back and see what happens,” he said.
Certainly, the Windies will have to dig deep with the remaining two matches.
First, they’ll have to battle and master the Indian spinners if they intend to win on those spinner-friendly pitches. A score of under 200 runs is not going to cut it against rampant Indian top-order batters who will take bowlers down if they’re not on top of their game.
Second, a military pace of the Kemar Roach kind will be like taking candy from a baby for the Indian batters.
Therefore, Windies bowlers must step up their game at pace, so benching Roach in the next game may be the smart thing to do and bring in Odean Smith, or Romario Shepherd, who also offers something with the bat.
My team going into the second match would include:
Shai Hope, Brandon King, Nkrumah Bonner, Daren Bravo, Nicholas Pooran, Jason Holder, Kieron Pollard, Fabian Allen, Odean Smith, Akeil Hosein, and Alzarri Joseph.
The second and third matches will be held at the same venue on Wednesday and Friday.
Edited by Jesus Chan